PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A man who was convicted in connection with a home invasion, but not a shooting that left a Clairton Police officer paralyzed, was sentenced Thursday morning.
Emilio Rivera was sentenced to 50 to 100 years in prison after being found guilty on four counts each of recklessly endangering another person, robbery and unlawful restraint. He was also found guilty on one count of burglary.READ MORE: 'We've Missed Our Guests So Much:' Theaters Reopening In The Cultural District Brings Sense Of Normalcy
He did not show much emotion as the sentence was read, but his family members were very animated.
His brother immediately shouted and was asked to leave the courtroom. Rivera’s fiancée shouted, “you’re coming home, don’t worry.”
“This is all about Kuzak and this is unfair. My son was acquitted for that. Why was Kuzak here for all this stuff? This is uncalled for. My son is innocent and we will appeal,” Mary Rivera said.
Kuzak was in the courtroom for today’s sentencing and is pleased with the sentence.
“I guess I can feel some comfort. The person who knows who shot me is going to spend the rest of his life in prison and I believe he knows why. Whether he accepts it or not, I do. I accept it,” Kuzak said.
The deputy district attorney said Rivera has been on a constant and escalating series of criminal events since the age of 13, involving drugs and guns.READ MORE: The Search For Kodiak, The National Aviary's Steller's Sea Eagle, Continued On Sunday
Kuzak said his focus is now on his family now that this is over.
On April 4, 2011, Officer James Kuzak was one of three officers responding to a home invasion. Kuzak went to the back door of the home in the 800-block of Miller Avenue, while the other officers went to the front door.
During the trial, Kuzak testified that within minutes the back door slammed shut. When it reopened, the house was dark inside and all he saw were muzzle flashes coming his way.
Kuzak was struck by five bullets in the incident.
Rivera and Marcus Andrejco were found not guilty of shooting Kuzak in August. Andrejco has since been released from prison.
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