New Capital Murder Indictment For Man Accused Of Killing Amarillo Teacher
Nearly two months after his indictment for murder, an Amarillo man's charge has been upgraded after a Randall County grand jury re-indicted him on a count of capital murder.
Erik Mitchell Rivas, 33, is the alleged gunman in the shooting death of Shereena Ann Webster. On August 18th of last year, police were called out to a home at 7200 Athens where they found the 36-year-old elementary school teacher deceased.
Rivas and Webster were were romantically involved for several years. The relationship had recently ended and Webster had been seeing other people. At the time of her death, Webster was "scheduled to leave town on or about Aug. 19 to meet a romantic interest in Colorado" as per the criminal complaint.
Rivas was arrested in Wise County on the same day of the murder and transported to Randall County jail. He was indicted on November 2 for murder, a 1st degree felony that carries a punishment of 5-99 years in prison under Texas law.
However, Randall County court records show that on December 28, Rivas was indicted in 47th district court for capital murder by terroristic threat. If convicted, he will automatically receive a sentence of life in prison unless the state elects to pursue the death penalty.
Under Texas law, a criminal homicide qualifies as a capital felony when one of several criteria are met, one such criteria is if the homicide occurs during the commission of another crime--such as making a terroristic threat or burglary.
The initial criminal complaint details how officers located a ladder identified as belonging to the defendant's workplace was found on the fence at the Athens street home. Officers also found footprints in the backyard, indicating that the ladder had been used to enter the backyard and then the home.
These circumstances led the District Attorney to move for indictment on capital murder. Released court documents state that Mitchell intentionally caused the death of Shereena Webster by shooting her with a firearm while in the course of committing the offense of burglary.
At the time of this writing, no further court appearances for Rivas have been set.