MARTINEZ -- A Brentwood handyman is expected to be sentenced to 16 years to life in prison next month for fatally striking and dragging a woman with his pickup on an Antioch road in 2010.
A Contra Costa County jury deliberated for about two days before finding 53-year-old Lucio Rivera-Avila guilty Monday of second-degree murder with use of a deadly weapon for killing 47-year-old Antioch resident Shelly Baker on Dec. 6, 2010 after an argument between the acquaintances.
Rivera-Avila asserted that Baker's death was an accident and that he was unaware he struck her with his pickup until he was told so by police armed with surveillance video of the incident. Rivera-Avila said an evening spent doing her laundry at his house soured when she became belligerent while drinking vodka.
Rivera-Avila thought he had run over Baker's bag of laundry after he dropped her off on Cavallo Road following an intense ride from Brentwood to Antioch during which Baker was threatening, deputy public offender Wayne Anderson argued.
But jurors sided with the prosecution, which argued that Rivera-Avila intentionally hit Baker, then dragged her about 60 feet before scraping off her body on a curb and taking off.
Deputy district attorney Molly Manoukian said Rivera-Avila backed up and positioned his truck to hit Baker head on. She argued that Rivera-Avila intentionally hit Baker because he considered her "damaged goods."
Among the witnesses at the two-week trial was a former Bay Point woman who testified that Rivera-Avila intentionally ran over her in 2010 because she had stolen money he used to solicit her for prostitution. She said he ran over her leg, but she didn't report the incident to police because she thought there was a warrant for her arrest for failing to check into court-ordered rehab.
Rivera-Avila is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Terri Mockler at 10 a.m. June 18 at the Richmond courthouse.
Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.