New Mexico court upholds convictions in Hobbs murder case

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico’s highest court has affirmed the convictions and sentence of a teenager who killed an 83-year-old woman while she slept.

Juan Rivas was accused in 2011 of stabbing the woman with a kitchen knife and a stick after breaking into her Hobbs home.

According to court documents, he told police he laughed while he attacked Clara Alvarez.

Rivas stole the woman’s car and ended up returning to her home multiple times over the next two days and enlisted the help of others to dispose of her body.

Rivas was eventually convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

The court found that Rivas knowingly and voluntarily waived his rights during his initial interview with police in which he confessed but that a lower court erred in admitting statements from a subsequent interview.