The Lawrence man charged with the rape and death of a Haverhill sixth grader in 2018 pleaded guilty Thursday and was sentenced to 25-27 years in prison.
Lawrence Superior Court Judge Janice Howe accepted the guilty plea of 62-year-old Miguel Rivera to charges of manslaughter, aggravated rape of a child by force and distribution of class E drugs. Consentino School student Precious Wallaces died Dec. 18, 2018 after falling ill three days earlier while visiting her uncle, Rivera, in Lawrence.
“This was a senseless killing of a child that robbed the victim’s family and friends of the opportunity to watch her grow up,” said Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett. “Nothing we can do will bring their loved one back but we hope today’s plea gives them some closure.”
Court documents reported Precious’ younger brother underwent a forensic interview during which he described how Rivera would give him and his sister a “little red pill” before bedtime each time they stayed at his Lawrence apartment to “help them sleep.”
“(The boy) stated his uncle had given (him and Precious) a small red pill to swallow at bedtime and described the pills as coming from a prescription-type bottle,” State Police Trooper Matthew Wilson said in a police report filed early in 2019.
Blodgett’s office said had the case gone to trial, Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall would have introduced evidence proving Rivera raped the girl and supplied her with drugs that caused her death. MacDougall was assisted by Victim Witness Advocate Maureen Leal and credited an investigation by Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Matthew Wilson and Lawrence Police Detective Ana Villavizar.
Besides the state prison sentence, Howe ordered five years of probation when Rivera is released.