A tow truck driver who claimed self-defense when he shot and killed a man was sentenced Friday to 35 years in prison.
And it turned out he was hiding his true identity during the entire trial.
Friday's sentencing came days after a bombshell revelation that Donald Montanez wasn't using his real name, and had a much longer criminal history than previously known.
Earlier this year, a jury found Montanez guilty of killing Glen Rich during a tow truck dispute outside a Tampa nightspot.
During a pre-sentencing investigation, the Department of Corrections and the State Attorney's office discovered Montanez's real name is Donald Rivera. "Montanez" was one of three aliases he'd used over the years.
According to a court filing from earlier this week, Rivera has been arrested at least seven times in three states: Pennsylvania, Texas and Florida, on charges ranging from theft to falsely impersonating a police officer.
Rivera used multiple names, dates and Social Security numbers to hide his true identity.
"In summary, over the course of the defendant's life, he has used four different dates of birth and six different Social Security numbers to avoid accurate identification by, and full punishment from, participants in the criminal justice system," the state attorney's office wrote in a court filing earlier this week.
Rivera's story unraveled when one of his nieces did a pre-sentencing interview with prosecutors. Rivera had claimed that he was responsible for raising his sister's three children after she died in a car accident.
Rivera's niece told prosecutors that wasn't true—she said the last time she had seen Rivera, she was ten years old, according to court papers.
The niece provided names and photos of her mother and Rivera's mother, and from there, prosecutors discovered his real identity and background.
Friday, prosecutors reminded the judge about the discovery, and pushed for a tougher sentence.
"This man that stands before you is not Donald Montanez. That's a figment of his imagination. That's the third identity that he has used," said assistant state attorney Jay Pruner.
In the end, the judge gave him a mandatory 35 years in prison, which means Rivera won't be released from prison until he is 85 years old.
Read more details about how Donald Rivera hid his true identity in this court filing: http://content.foxtvmedia.com/wtvt/html/misc/MontanezRiveraFiling.pdf
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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