Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

No leniency woman sentenced to 15 years in armed robbery of adult video store

DADE CITY — A masked, hooded figured burst through the door of the adult video shop, waving a gun. The security tape of the holdup had no sound, but the cash drawer was the obvious target.

One person was convicted in the robbery: 24-year-old Victoria Rivera, who had been a clerk at Dade 301 Adult Toys & Videos.

But as Rivera was sentenced to prison Wednesday, the result of one bad choice — a crime with no injuries, lasting little more than a minute — was years lost and other lives overturned.

Because Rivera used a gun in the March 31, 2008, crime, Florida's 10-20-Life law applied, meaning she faced at least 10 years in prison. According to state sentencing guidelines, Rivera qualified for a minimum of 12 years. But the prosecutor asked for 20.

"This was a very serious case," Assistant State Attorney Justin Petredis said Wednesday. "This involved premeditation. She thought about it."

Then Rivera's girlfriend testified, crying as she talked about the positive influence Rivera has had on her four children.

"She's been a financial support and emotional support," Nekeisha Parson said. She said she hoped Rivera would be housed in a prison nearby, so she and her kids could visit.

One person not in attendance Wednesday was Rivera's mother, Isa Blanford, a longtime community activist in Lacoochee who was the state's star witness at Rivera's trial in March.

Blanford had testified — often through tears — that days after the robbery she found a gun, bank deposit bag and Rivera's shirt in the trunk of her car, which she had let her daughter borrow.

She said she could tell by the way the robber stood and moved around in the security camera video that it was her daughter.

"I didn't believe that Victoria would have done it," she said at trial. "And I wanted to see for myself."

When it was Rivera's turn to speak Wednesday, she asked for leniency.

"I love those children like they're mine," she said of her girlfriend's kids, "and I still would like to be a part of their lives."

In the end, Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa came down in the middle, sending her to prison for 15 years. Rivera must also pay $410 in restitution to the video store.

"Ms. Rivera, good luck when you get out," the judge said.

No leniency woman sentenced to 15 years in armed robbery of adult video store 05/13/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 9:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh


    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.