Monday, August 9, 2010

Father with extensive criminal history murders mom who wanted sole custody of 2-year old; media calls it "tumultuous relationship" (Keachi, Louisiana)

Reporters, get a clue. This was not a "tumultous relationship." Dad STEPHEN RIVERS had a long violent history involving domestic violence and other criminal charges. He is now charged in a double homicide involving his "estranged" wife and sister-in-law.

"Tumultous" inplies a couple that may be mutually inclined towards drama. But that is not the case here AT ALL if you read the evidence carefully. The orders of protection that Rivers filed against his wife were clearly designed to muddy the waters, to falsely label the mother's concerns for Daddy's drinking and driving with their young child as "harrassment" and "abuse."

So we are clearly talking about a HARDENED CRIMINAL who viciously stabbed to death two people, NOT a "tumultuous relationship."

In addition, the reporter here fails to draw any connection between the mother's bid for sole custody and how this conflicted with this abuser's drive toward total control of his former partner through her children. Are you really so stupid as to think that being heartbroken over "losing his child" forced this father to commit such a horrible act? Create one of the bloodiest crime scenes that local cops had ever seen? Note that two children in the home also witnessed Daddy running around the home with a knife. Make no mistake: this guy doesn't give a sh** about kids. It's all about coercive control and violence.

DeSoto man jailed in double homicide
By Vickie Welborn • • August 9, 2010

KEACHI — One only has to look at the court record to get a glimpse of the tumultuous relationship between Stephen Rivers and his estranged wife, Diana Irene Knight Rivers.

Entries not only detail Stephen Rivers' criminal record, which includes arrests and convictions for simple assault and domestic abuse, it also lists protective orders the spouses sought against each other over the past two years.

The latest notation was a court order signed July 27 but filed Thursday, setting a hearing for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in DeSoto District Court on the latest protective order sought by Diana Rivers. She was seeking "protection from abuse."

DeSoto sheriff's investigators believe it was the pending court hearing that sparked Stephen Rivers' rage. Not only did Diana Rivers want a court to order Stephen Rivers to stay away from her, she also wanted sole custody of their child, a son who will turn 3 on Aug. 30, which is a request she made in divorce papers filed July 29.

"He had that custody hearing and he was probably going to lose his child," Cpl. Dusty Herring said Sunday afternoon. "But right now he's not admitting anything; he's not saying anything."

Stephen Rivers, 35, is charged with first-degree murder in the Sunday morning stabbing deaths of Diana Rivers, 25, and her sister, Virginia Knight, 24, whose mother, according to court records, has been on the receiving end of abuse from Stephen Rivers.

Diana Rivers died of multiple stab wounds inside the home in the 1000 block of Speights Road in Keachi that she shared with her sister, their mother, another elderly male relative and six young children belonging to the homicide victims. Virginia Knight also was stabbed several times, but died after being taken to LSU Hospital in Shreveport.

Before her death she was able to tell her mother "Stephen did it," Herring said.

Two of the children also reported seeing Rivers run through the house "bloodied and with a knife," Lt. Robert Davidson said.

District Attorney Richard Johnson will wait until he gets the completed file from the sheriff's office before moving forward with the case. "Once I receive the file I will place the case before the grand jury and we'll see what charges the grand jury decides. "» Obviously, this is a horrific crime."

The manhunt

A 911 call at 5:05 a.m. alerted DeSoto deputies to the stabbings. Diana Rivers' and Virginia Knight's mother, whose name is also Virginia Knight, told authorities she was in a back bedroom and was awakened by screaming. She found her two daughters stabbed, but the suspect had left already.

Stephen Rivers reportedly entered the double-wide mobile home from an unlocked back door. He apparently first encountered Diana Rivers in her bedroom. Her body was found on the living room floor, as was Virginia Knight before she was taken by ambulance.

Davidson described the crime scene as among the bloodiest he's seen.

Authorities believe Stephen Rivers parked his truck at an oilfield location about a mile or so away from Diana Rivers' house then walked there. He left the scene in Diana Rivers' car, which was found about an hour later. It contained blood evidence.

As sheriff's deputies were searching for Stephen Rivers' black pickup, a deputy at 7:35 a.m. spotted a man fitting his description walking along Highway 172. He asked the man his name. The man answered "Stephen" then jumped a fence and ran into the woods.

Deputies swarmed the area and brought in the department's search dog, which hit on a trail. A perimeter also was set up along Highway 172, State Line Road and Speights Road, nudging the Texas border.

Meanwhile, Stephen Rivers' pickup was found wrecked across the state line in Panola County. "He was traveling at a high rate of speed and missed a curve," Davidson said.

The truck was heavily damaged, leading deputies to speculate Stephen Rivers might have been injured from the crash.

The Winn Correctional Center chase team of corrections officers on horseback with their bloodhounds arrived and joined DeSoto and Panola County, Texas, deputies in the search. Shortly before 10 a.m., the sheriff's office received another call that Stephen Rivers was trying to flag down traffic on Speights Road.

He disappeared again into the woods when deputies arrived, but that gave searchers a fresh trail. At 11:35 a.m., Stephen Rivers was located on hunting club property, suffering from the three self-inflicted stab wounds in the torso. It took about 25 minutes to get him out of the woods and to an ambulance.

Stephen Rivers was scheduled to have surgery Sunday afternoon. He will remain under armed guard during his hospitalization.

The knife used in the stabbings had not been recovered, Herring said.

The records

In her petition for divorce, Diana Rivers states she is not at fault for the breakup of her two-year marriage to Stephen Rivers. She claims in the petition on file with the DeSoto Clerk of Court's office that Stephen Rivers is "abusive and has a substance abuse problem, has failed two drug tests and tested positive for cocaine and opiates."

The petition also states Stephen Rivers has a criminal background, including two domestic abuse charges, two felony thefts, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, driving while intoxicated, illegal possession of stolen things, simple burglary and aggravated burglary
. Diana Rivers sought custody of their child, child support and use of a 2005 Ford Explorer.

In a separate petition filed eight days before the divorce papers, Diana Rivers sought a protective order, and she cited an incident occurring July 10 when she said she was pushed by Stephen Rivers, and that he got on top of her. However, she said she pushed him off and left marks. "He called the cops so I went to jail," she wrote in the documents.

She cites past instances where she alleges Stephen Rivers abused her mother and "got a domestic abuse charge. He has a domestic abuse charge for pushing me in Odessa, Tx. Has abused me before, but never pressed charges."

Diana Rivers wanted the court to order Stephen Rivers to not contact her in any manner, stay at least 100 yards away from the home on Speights Road and stay away from Logansport Elementary School.

District Judge Charles B. Adams signed off on the order and set a hearing date for Tuesday.

The July incident also had prompted Stephen Rivers to file his own request for a protective order. It was filed July 19 in DeSoto District Court, and in it Stephen Rivers states Diana Rivers "shoved, choked, scratched and swung at me."

He cited past incidents where "she had hit me, spit, slapped, kicked, shoved. She has harassed me, followed me and called the law and said I was driving and drinking with my son. The police stopped me and then let me go and told her to stop harassing me."

Attached to his complaint is a copy of the sheriff's office's report that indicates deputies responded to a home in the 200 block of state Highway 763 in Mansfield for a domestic disturbance.

Diana Rivers sought her first restraining order in August 2009. In the court filing, she claims on May 16, 2009, that Stephen Rivers pushed her and went to jail in Odessa, Texas.

Diana Rivers was charged with a misdemeanor offense of simple battery in May. Her original court date in July was refixed for Sept. 22. In his July 20 letter asking for the delay, Diana Rivers' attorney Joel Pearce states his client's father was terminally ill and not expected to live through the week.

On March 23, 2009, Stephen Rivers pleaded guilty to second-degree battery in connection with an incident that occurred Dec. 11, 2008. No details were available; however, the bill of information states Stephen Rivers "did commit battery upon Virginia Knight." His probation was revoked and a six-month jail term imposed.

In November 2006, Stephen Rivers was found not guilty of a misdemeanor charge of simple assault. Diana "Knight" was listed as one of the witnesses for the defense in the case.

In November, the Caddo District court increased child support payments Stephen Rivers was paying on another son. Payments were increased from $175 to $220 a month. He was in arrears more than $8,000.

In January 2002, Stephen Rivers was convicted of two counts of aggravated burglary. He was sentenced to prison for 10 years on each count. The sentences were to run concurrently. Separate minute entry dated Dec. 7, 2005, adjusts the sentence to five years on each count, with credit for time served.

Feb, 12, 2001, arrest on contributing to the delinquency of juveniles charge

April 7, 1999, arrest on illegal possession of stolen things charge.

June 13, 1996, arrest on simple burglary charge.