Carlos Montalvo-Rivera sentenced to life for killing his wife

Carlos Montalvo-Rivera and the fire he started that killed his wife in 2010 (Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office and WGAL screenshot)

A 55-year-old man in Pennsylvania will spend the rest of his life behind bars for killing his wife inside their family home, setting the house on fire while their three children were inside, then killing himself. being tied up for the purpose of fabricating a home invasion.

Lancaster County Judge Dennis Reinaker on Wednesday ordered Carlos Montalvo-Rivera to serve life in prison plus an additional 20 years for killing Olga Sanchez, 30, and deliberately setting the house on fire to destroy the evidence of his crime, prosecutors announced.

“The lame story that you concocted and kept going just didn’t hold water,” Judge Reinaker told Montalvo-Rivera before handing down the sentence. “The jury didn’t believe you and I think that’s how it should be.”

In addition to the life sentence, Judge Reinaker also ordered Montalvo-Rivera to pay $116,975.28 in restitution.

In April, a jury convicted Montalvo-Rivera of first-degree murder, arson, catastrophic risk and three counts of attempted criminal homicide after deliberating for less than two hours following a three-week trial. The sentencing came several years after Montalvo-Rivera’s arrest in 2019 and more than a decade after Sanchez’s death in 2010.

According to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office, police and emergency medical personnel on the night of Dec. 6, 2010, responded to a fire at a home in the 500 block of Dauphin Street. Three children were rescued from the house with the help of neighbours. After the fire was brought under control, Sanchez was found dead in the master bedroom of the house.

Sanchez’s cause of death was later determined to be asphyxiation and smoke inhalation. Investigators determined that someone had “hosed” Sanchez with an accelerant and lit her on fire while she was still alive, but was unable to move from her position on the bedroom floor.

Several witnesses told investigators that Montalvo-Rivera appeared outside the house shortly after the children were rescued and had his hands tied. He claimed “intruders broke into the house, killed his wife, and set it on fire in retaliation for the victim’s brother, who had been cooperating with the DEA in an unrelated matter,” according to prosecutors. Montalvo-Rivera told police he was able to escape by jumping out of the second story window during the fire.

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