OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Months after he was arrested, a St. Cloud man has been indicted on second-degree murder charges in connection with his estranged wife’s death, court records show.
Christopher Otero-Rivera has been in custody since Nicole Montalvo’s remains were found on the Rivera family’s yard in late October, according to Osceola County deputies.
An Osceola County clerk said Otero-Rivera has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of second-degree murder, tampering with evidence and abuse of a dead body while Rivera was indicted on abuse of a dead body, accessory after the fact and tampering with evidence charges.
“We remain committed to defending our client,” Otero-Rivera’s attorney Migdalia Perez said. “The events of today do not change our path.”
Otero-Rivera’s father, Angel Rivera, was also indicted by a grand jury on charges related to Montalvo’s death, court documents show.
Rivera was previously charged with abuse of a dead body and failure to report a death. He was indicted on new charges of accessory after the fact, abuse of a dead body and tampering with evidence.
Although both men have remained in custody since late October, neither had officially been charged with murder until now.
The lack of indictment was a major point of controversy between Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala and Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson. Ultimately, the governor stepped in at the end of January to remove the case from Ayala and reassign it to a neighboring state attorney.
Ayala commented on the indictment Thursday afternoon.
“When it comes to indictments, that’s a very low level to establish. I don’t think that should surprise anyone, especially with the level of pressure that came from the governor to make certain there was an indictment. But at this point now, the real work matters,” Ayala said.
So far, authorities have not said how Montalvo was killed or who killed her and a cache of evidence released in the case has also not shed any light to answer those questions.
State prosecutors would not comment on the indictment.
Angel Rivera’s attorney waived his right to a speedy trial, which means both sides can take their time with trying his case.
Otero-Rivera’s attorney, however, has not waived his right to a speedy trial.
“That is a dangerous game to play,” said News 6 legal analyst Steven Kramer.
He said prosecutors have a window of 175 days to try a case, and the clock in Otero-Rivera’s case is ticking.
He said both sides may need more time for a fair trial.
“You’ve got complicated evidence, forensic evidence, you’ve got experts that are going to have to come in, and frankly defense attorneys often need time just as much if not more than the prosecution.”