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Mary Ann Rivera. 76 and on an Oxygen Tank, Arrested for 1970 Murder of Her Husband

Mary Ann Rivera: Back in Houston to face 1970 murder charges.
Mary Ann Rivera: Back in Houston to face 1970 murder charges.
Photo by HPD

Mary Ann Rivera is 76 and was living in a small Georgia town, hooked up to an oxygen tank and pretty much keeping to herself.

Until cops showed up at her door this week to arrest her for killing her husband 41 years ago by pouring hot grease on him.

Rivera appeared in a Houston court today to face those charges. She had little to say; media reports from Georgia indicate she had told neighbors her husband Cruz had abused her.

She was arrested after the 1970 killing but made bail. She ran off with her children.

KTRK talked to the prosecutor in the case.

"Well, it's always good to get a case where someone had hurt someone in the past, or killed someone, or is responsible for a death, and to bring them to justice. So it's very good that we have her here today," said Asst. District Attorney Tina Ansari.

The arrest came about by the District Attorney's cold case office. Lately there have been a string of arrests for old murders as the cold case team uses ever-more sophisticated search technologies and tactics.

Prosecutors told KTRK "there are some complications because of the age of the [Rivera] case and potential challenges with witnesses," but a trial is still set, at least until a plea bargain is worked out.


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