January 18, 2024
State of Florida v. Julio C. Rivera
Case Number: 2019 103051 CFDL
Jury recommends Death for Rivera in the DeBary murder of his friend
DAYTONA BEACH – At the conclusion of a week-long sentencing hearing this afternoon, a Volusia County jury recommended that Julio Rivera be sentenced to death for shooting and killing his close childhood friend.
On December 8, 2019, Rivera’s childhood friend Roberto Ovalle visited him at the DeBary storage unit that Ovalle rented. Ovalle lent Rivera a helping hand by letting him stay in the unit. After a period of time, Rivera, who felt disrespected by his friend, pulled out a gun and shot Ovalle in the back of the head, killing him.
The victim’s girlfriend witnessed the murder and reported it to the Volusia Sheriff’s Office. Rivera left the area but was apprehended later as he returned to scene while detectives were there. Rivera later admitted in a recorded jail call that he was indeed the shooter.
Rivera has an incredibly violent prior record which includes both Robbery and Murder for which he served 25 years before being released on parole in New York.
State Attorney RJ Larizza said “The defendant should receive the same measure of mercy he gave to our Victim. His prior crimes demonstrate a total disdain for human life.”
The final sentencing decision in this case will be made by the Honorable Elizabeth Blackburn on April 1, 2024.
The case was investigated by the Volusia Sheriff’s Office. Assistant State Attorney Heatha Trigones and Chief of Homicide Jason Lewis successfully tried the case for the state.
For more information contact:
Bryan Shorstein | Executive Director/PIO | Office of State Attorney R.J. Larizza, Florida's Seventh Judicial Circuit | SAOPIO@SAO7.org