California City man pleads no contest to manslaughter in girlfriend’s stabbing death

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CALIFORNIA CITY, Calif. (KGET) — A man who authorities say stabbed his girlfriend and left her to die in the desert has pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter.

Jonathan Rivera, 27, faces a 28-year prison term as part of the plea agreement, according to the California City Police Department. He pleaded no contest May 13 in exchange for the dismissal of a charge of first-degree murder, which carries a penalty of 25 years to life in prison.

On Jan. 28, 2018, police were called to a desert area north of Poppy Boulevard and west of Mitchell Road regarding a stabbing victim. They found Veronica Medina, 20, suffering from serious injuries, police said. Paramedics rushed her to Antelope Valley Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Rivera was arrested a month later after investigators determined he drove Medina to the desert, stabbed her multiple times and left her to die, according to police.

His sentencing is set for June 15.

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