Man gets life term for machete attack that injured ex and good Samaritan

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Bakersfield man was sentenced to seven years to life in prison plus eight years on Wednesday for attacking with a machete his former girlfriend and a good Samaritan who intervened.

Robert Daniel Rivas, 33, will serve the eight years after he’s granted parole on his life term. Rivas was convicted last month of six felonies and a misdemeanor stemming from the September 2018 attack inside a Starbucks at Stockdale Highway and Village Lane.

Surveillance cameras captured the chaotic scene as Rivas followed his ex inside the coffee shop and chased her behind a counter, where he began striking her with a machete. A customer, Blaine Hodge, ran behind the counter and briefly stopped the assault before also being struck and injured by Rivas.

Hodge and other customers ran from the store and Rivas resumed the attack on his ex, who eventually convinced him to stop.

Rivas left the Starbucks and California Highway Patrol officers took him into custody.

Upon his arrest, Rivas told officers, “You do the crime, you do the time,” according to court documents.

Both the former girlfriend and Hodge suffered serious injuries.

Hodge went on to receive the 2019 Citizen Honors Award for the Single Act of Heroism category in Washington D.C. It’s given by the Medal of Honor Society for acts of bravery.

In a statement read to the court by a victim advocate, Hodge said he can’t yet forgive Rivas for what he did. He said he suffered intense physical pain and mental turmoil from the attack.

Despite those injuries, the effects of which he still feels, Hodge did not express ill will toward Rivas.

He asked that the trial judge, Brian M. McNamara, tell Rivas, “Get it together, brother,” and to be a better person.

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