This past Thursday, Dana Rivers, 67, a San Jose, California, activist for transgender rights, was convicted of the murder of three individuals. Jurors deliberated just one day before returning with a guilty verdict. The evidence presented against Rivers was substantial, which included being covered in the victims’ blood.
Rivers carried out the murder of the three victims – Charlotte Reed, 56; her spouse, Patricia Wright, 57; and Wright's 19-year-old son, Benny Toto Diambu-Wright – on October 11, 2016. The prosecution argued that the motive was Reed's having quit an all-women's motorcycling club, the now defunct Deviants, and Rivers believing he was an “enforcer” seeking revenge. District Attorney Deputy Abigail Mulvihill said Rivers was “promoted” to sergeant-at-arms after the murders and that new members were taken into Santa Rita Jail to meet Rivers “out of respect.”
The prosecution claimed Rivers stabbed and shot Reed and Wright and also shot Diambu-Wright after going to their house to investigate what was going on. Diambu-Wright was hit in the chest, then ran from the house and fell to the ground. The lesbian couple was killed sleeping in their bed. The assault left Reed's body severely deformed after her attacker inflicted 47 fatal stab wounds. Rivers is also accused of spraying gasoline on the garage in a bid to set the house on fire.
Mulvihill told jurors during closing arguments that Rivers “is so manipulative, so fake, that she convinced Charlotte she wasn't a threat anymore.”
Mulvihill stated that Rivers “faked their friendship” and waited for everyone inside the home to go to bed before she committed the murders. She said, “The defendant was hiding in plain sight.”
Different motives for the murders have been reported, including that Rivers was angry after she was exiled from a lesbian event for women only, in which organizers excluded transgender individuals from attending. Rivers was a member of a group known as Camp Trans, which campaigned against MichFest until 2015, when it was pulled over the transgender issue.
Before Rivers’ triple murder put his name in the news, he had been David Warfield, a teacher who was awarded a settlement of $150,000 in exchange for his resignation following the Unified Center School District Board of Trustees’ vote to dismiss him for having announced to his students that he planned to undergo a sex change.
In 1999, the Los Angeles Times reported: “Under the agreement, the district will pick up half the cost of the settlement, and its insurance carrier will pay the rest. An additional $50,000 will be paid to Rivers if the state takes action to rescind her teaching credential. The district also has paid more than $20,000 in legal fees, officials said.”
LGB (without the T) organizations have called the coverage of the Rivers murder incident a “media blackout.”
Rivers is currently detained in a women's unit. The next phase of the trial is scheduled to begin on December 5, deciding whether Rivers is declared insane or competent, which will determine if his sentence is executed in a mental institution or prison.