A 52-year-old man killed his ex-girlfriend a day after being released from Rikers Island, Queens prosecutors said Tuesday.
Jerome Rivers, of Brooklyn, is now back at Rikers Island, charged with strangling Gia Pender inside her home on Centerville St. near Rockaway Blvd. in Ozone Park early Friday.
Pender, 49, feared that Rivers was going to harm her and gave her wallet, credit cards and ID to a friend in case “anything happens,” prosecutors said.
“Jerome is coming over,” she told the friend.
“If anything happens to me, give this to my mother,” she said, according to court documents.
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“This was a senseless killing,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. “Despite the defendant having an order of protection barring him from communicating with the victim, the man allegedly called her numerous times from jail and then asked to stay with her upon his release.”
Rivers, who was added to the New York State Sex Offender Registry after he sexually assaulted a woman in 2013, faces up to 25 years in prison for Pender’s death.
“(This) woman feared for her safety and actually gave a neighbor her wallet and other personal items to pass on to her mother, if something happened to her,” Brown said. “Domestic violence is a plague in our society and must end. The defendant now faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison."
Cops arrested Rivers on July 29, for assaulting Pender, police sources said. At his arraignment, a judge approved an order of protection barring contact.
Despite this, Rivers, after completing his two-month sentence for the assault, called Rivers on Thursday and asked to stay with her.
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On Friday at about 6 a.m. Rivers called 911, claiming that he heard a thump and found Pender on the floor. He told police that the 911 operator instructed him to do chest compressions, but, when he did so, he “heard a pop,” he said.
Pender died at the scene.
Once an autopsy showed that Pender was strangled, cops on Saturday arrested Rivers and charged him with murder and disobeying an order of protection, cops said.
Rivers claimed he and Pender hadn’t argued since he had been back and he had no reason to kill her. Then, in a bizarre statement, he gave police all the reasons he would harm her, claiming that Pender had taken checks meant for him, had him locked up on what he claimed were trumped-up domestic violence charges and had disrespected his mother.
A Queens criminal court judge ordered him held without bail during a brief arraignment on Sunday.
Rivers has an extensive criminal record with 109 arrests stretching back to 1983, police sources said.