MONDAY, May 17 — Friends and family of Isaac Rivera, who was brutaly murdered at 15, protested in front of City Pulse today, carrying signs accusing the paper of advocating for a convicted killer and ignoring the victim in a 1999 murder.
They said they don’t understand why a convicted killer, Jesus Mora, 37, of Lansing, was worthy of a news report at all. City Pulse published a cover story last week on his efforts to win freedom after 21 years in prison.
“City Pulse is praising a murderer and then trying to cry out for help from the governor during a global pandemic is pathetic,” said Sarali Rivera Martinez. “I don’t understand how he would write about a killer.”
Mora, who was 15 at the time of the killing, is seeking a gubernatorial commutation of his 40-to-60-year sentence for second-degree murder. Family and friends said the story should have focused on his victim, Rivera. Mora alleged he killed Rivera because he sexually assaulted his sister.
Mora and a friend fired at least 16 shots before Mora fired the fatal bullet into Rivera's head.
Sarali Rivera Martinez said she won't forgive her brother’s killer “until he sits there for the 40 years — then I might take that into consideration.”
She noted Isaac was her only biological sibling.
Alberto Rodriguez, Jr., Isaac Rivera’s nephew, was 8 years old when the murder occurred. He said the murder “stole” his uncle from the family. He said the murder “really effected” his entire life, including how he interacts with others.
“All of us are still here, and we haven’t forgotten about that tragedy,” he said.
Rivera Martinez said the report included “lies,” but she did not offer any counter evidence. The story depended heavily on court records.
The story’s reporter, Kyle Kaminski, sought interviews with the family. Ixchel Rivera, the victim’s half sister, told him via Facebook six days before the story was published that the family had not forgiven Mora and that she would talk to him by phone. She also said she would pass along the request to Rivera’s mother. But the half sister did not get back to him and the mother never contacted him
Editor’s Note: The gender of her half sister Ixchel Rivera was reported incorrectly in the story, Ixchel is female, not male as reported in the story. It has been updated to correct this reporting error. Both Rivera Martinez and Rodriquez pointed out the error in interviews. The error occurred because the only communication was through messaging and the half-sister’s Facebook profile photo was of a man, leading the reporter to assume it was a photo of the Ixchel Rivera. City Pulse regrets the error.