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'Controlling and Toxic' New York Man Fatally Stabbed His Wife To Death. Then, He Set Fire to 10 Dogs, a Rabbit and Ferret.

new york man stabbed wife arson killed animals
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May 27 2023, Published 1:08 p.m. ET

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A New York man has pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his estranged wife before setting his own house on fire, killing 12 animals.

Around 10:30 p.m. on June 17, 2022, officers found 35-year-old Maribel Diaz stabbed to death inside her car in Rochester.

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Police began looking into her estranged husband, 49-year-old Juan Rivera. They located Rivera the next morning at his home in Rochester.

Once police arrived at the residence, Rivera started a fire in the basement that spread throughout the house. He then climbed out the basement window and was arrested.

The Rochester Fire Department was able to put out the fire, but they weren’t able to save 10 dogs, a rabbit and a ferret that were inside.

Assistant District Attorney Patrick Gallagher said, “Mirabel Diaz was beginning to gain her independence from a controlling and toxic marriage before Juan Rivera took her life. The defendant stabbed and killed a woman he claimed to love, before abandoning her body,” WHEC reported.

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Rivera pleaded guilty to manslaughter and arson and is expected to receive a 25-year prison sentence for manslaughter and one to three years for arson, officials said.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 18.

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