Easton man sentenced to serve 20-40 years for murder of Carbon man
Yessy Rivera is led by trooper Mark Bower into magisterial district court in Jim Thorpe in 2017. On Monday, Rivera pleaded guilty to third-degree murder of Brian Lindner. TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO
An Easton man was sentenced on Friday morning in Carbon County court to serve 20 to 40 years in a state correctional institution for the murder of a Lehighton man almost two years ago.
Yessy Rivera, 31, was sentenced by Judge Steven R. Serfass to the maximum term for third-degree murder. Last September, Rivera pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in the killing of Brian Paul Lindner, 44, of Lehighton, on April 30, 2017.
Rivera admitted slitting the throat of Lindner during an argument in the basement of the victim’s home.
On Tuesday morning, May 2, 2017, emergency personnel and law enforcement agencies responded to the home of Michael W. Jerden Jr., at 929 Coal St., where they found Lindner’s body facedown in a pool of blood in the basement. Troopers said Lindner’s throat had been cut.
Rivera was later found in Easton and taken into custody. He was charged with criminal homicide and two counts of aggravated assault and one count of theft.
At the start of the proceeding, chief public defender Gregory Lee Mousseau told the court, “Knowingly, consciously, my client took another person’s life.”
He said Rivera has shown remorse and “wished it never had happened.”
‘A big mistake’
Attorney Paul J. Levy, also of the public defender’s office, told Serfass of mental health issues Rivera has had since he was a child. Levy asserted that if he had gotten the help he needed to control his emotions, maybe nothing would have happened except a verbal argument.
Rivera told the court, “I know I made a big mistake. I know a lot of family members are suffering and hurting.”
He expressed sorrow and said he wished he could bring Lindner back, but knows he can’t.
The mother of his daughter called him a “good father” and said that he struggled with mental health issues.
His brother said, “He is not a bad guy.”
District Attorney Jean A. Engler, who prosecuted the case, called the killing “a senseless and heinous act.” She said thankfully her office does not have many of these types of cases, “the taking of a human life.”
She said Rivera cooperated with police in the investigation and admitted his guilt.
She said the victim’s parents, who are elderly, could not speak to the court because of their grief. A letter written for the family was read into the record.
The letter related how much the family misses the victim. It concluded by stating every morning when his parents wake up, “There is a hole in their heart.”
Engler also thanked Lindner’s family for their continued strength and help during the investigation. She said it was a death that never should have happened. She said Rivera used a weapon against a defenseless man.
She also singled out trooper Nicholas A. De La Iglesia, who investigated the case and filed the charges, for his work in bringing Rivera to justice.
Serfass said he agreed with Engler in calling the death senseless and heinous. He said testimony indicated Rivera was not a bad guy.
“On the day of this incident, he was a bad guy.”
He added he had to take into consideration the gravity of the crime, its impact on the family and community and the defendant’s rehabilitation needs.
He added, “The fact is you are a danger to society, a menace to society.”
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed in the case gave these details:
Michael W. Jerden Jr. called the county communications center at 6:40 a.m. reporting that his brother, Brian Jerden, had found a man dead in the basement of his home.
When Michael Jerden was interviewed by troopers, he admitted he witnessed “Yessy,” later identified as Yessy Rivera, put a knife to the throat of Lindner and cut him, causing the victim to fall to the floor and die.
Jerden also said Rivera was with a woman, identified as Audra Marie Maynard, 48, of Easton.
Jerden said he did not initially call police, because he was afraid. He also said Rivera’s car, which was registered to Maynard, was parked in the rear of the residence and that Lindner’s vehicle was missing.
The victim’s 2012 blue Dodge Avenger was found at 4325 N. Delaware Ave., in Easton, Maynard’s home. That is where Rivera and Maynard were taken into custody and returned to Carbon County.
Maynard was interviewed at the state police barracks and said that Rivera had struck the victim in the throat with a knife. She said that she and Rivera then fled the scene in Lindner’s car and traveled to Virginia to flee the jurisdiction. However, she said that they did not have enough money to complete the trip and returned to her home in Easton.
Rivera at first did not want to speak to police, but later agreed to talk to them after being given his Miranda warnings.
He admitted being present at the Jerden residence when the incident took place and fleeing in the victim’s car. However, he denied killing the victim. He admitted owning a black knife, which was found at the scene with blood on it.
He said he traveled to Allentown with Lindner, Maynard and Michael Jerden on April 30 to purchase drugs. He said that he assaulted Lindner in Allentown and left him there while he and the others returned to Lehighton using Lindner’s car.
He then said Lindner later returned to Jerden’s home and began yelling at him and Michael Jerden for leaving him in Allentown. Rivera said he was aware that Lindner had died and did not call police. He said that he and Maynard fled in the victim’s car, knowing Lindner was dead.
Engler said on the day of his preliminary hearing, while being transported to the district justice office, Rivera told the troopers he wanted to talk about the incident. The troopers pulled over and Rivera gave a statement admitting he had “cut the victim with a knife.” He said he left the home immediately and didn’t know until later that Lindner had died.
Rivera also pleaded guilty to a charge of firearms not to be carried without a license for an incident in Banks Township. The charge was filed by state police at Hazleton for an incident on Jan. 13, 2014.
On that charge, Serfass imposed a state sentence of 42 to 84 months, concurrent with the murder count.
He also ordered Rivera to get comprehensive mental health and drug and alcohol evaluations, supply a DNA sample, attend anger management counseling, pay court costs of about $1,000 and have no contact with any of the victim’s family. He was also ordered to make restitution of $5,100 to the Lindner family and $5,000 to the family assistance board.
Rivera was given credit for 627 days spent in jail on the murder charge and 980 days on the firearms count.