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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Rivera returns to Leavenworth

  • A woman who's been granted a new trial in a manslaughter case has again appeared in a Leavenworth County courtroom, court records show.
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  • A woman who's been granted a new trial in a manslaughter case has again appeared in a Leavenworth County courtroom, court records show.
    Monica F. Rivera, 31, appeared Wednesday in Leavenworth County District Court. And she's scheduled to be back in court this morning.
    Rivera was convicted in August 2010 of involuntary manslaughter and endangering a child. She later was sentenced to 41 months in prison.
    Rivera's son, Gabriel, reportedly died in 2009 from blunt force trauma after he was left in the care of Rivera's fiancÚ, Jason L. Jones. The boy was 4 years old.
    The incident occurred in Leavenworth.
    Jones was sentenced in 2010 to more than 38 years in prison for the second-degree murder of the boy.
    During Rivera's 2010 trial, the prosecution argued Jones had abused the boy prior to his death. And Rivera had endangered her son by leaving him in Jones' care.
    The defense argued Rivera had never seen Jones abuse her son. And at least some injuries the boy suffered prior to his death resulted from accidents.
    In December, the Kansas Court of Appeals released a decision ordering a new trial in Rivera's case. The judges of the Court of Appeals found that errors had been made in instructions provided to jurors during the 2010 trial.
    Officials with the Leavenworth County Attorney's Office did not ask the Kansas Supreme Court to review the appeal, and the case was returned to Leavenworth County.
    Rivera had been in custody of the Kansas Department of Corrections. But Sheriff Andy Dedeke said Rivera was transferred to the custody of the Leavenworth County Jail.
    When Rivera appeared in court Wednesday, she requested a previous bond be reinstated, according to court records.
    The request was denied but a bond screen was ordered to set a new bond in the case.
    Rivera also indicated she would try to hire an attorney. Today's court appearance was set to check the status of the effort to obtain an attorney, according to court records.

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