Man accused of killing pregnant woman had previously been charged with murder

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A man who authorities say shot and killed a pregnant woman Sunday and later died in a shootout with deputies leaves behind a number of unanswered questions.

It’s unclear exactly what prompted Javier Vidal to fatally shoot 34-year-old Audreyanna Diana Rivera and abduct a 2-year-old boy from a home in the 7800 block of Florence Street. He later released the boy unharmed, and an hours-long standoff with law enforcement began later that evening.

It ended in gunfire, and Vidal’s death.

Among the numerous run-ins with the law listed against Vidal in Kern County is a 2012 case in which he was charged with first-degree murder, among other offenses. All charges were later dismissed.

Kern County District Attorney’s office spokesman Joseph Kinzel provided the following summary of that case, and the reason for its dismissal:

The charges originated from a June 14, 2010, call from a home in Lamont reporting an assault and a shooting that occurred in defense of the assault victim.

Vidal and two others — Adrian Lopez and Eric Hernandez — confronted the victim in the front yard of the house, and Lopez began beating and stabbing the victim. Vidal and Herndandez also joined in the assault. There was no evidence that either of them had weapons.

As the victim attempted to get away, he retreated toward his house while pursued by the three men. That’s when a relative of the victim with a legally owned handgun fired from within the house at the attackers. Lopez was hit and died on the scene.

Vidal and Hernandez fled, but were identified during the investigation.

Murder charges were filed against Vidal and Hernandez based upon a “provocative-act murder theory.” They were charged with the killing of Lopez based upon the premise that someone whose illegal conduct provokes the killing of someone else can be held responsible for murder.

The case developed problems of proof and witness cooperation, Kinzel said, and ultimately was dismissed in May 2012 because the charges could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Although he’s been charged with numerous crimes over the years, Vidal spent time in prison just once, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Vidal began serving a four-year prison term on Feb. 9, 2018, for possession of a firearm by a felon and brandishing a weapon at a daycare center, CDCR spokeswoman Terry Thornton said. He received 289 days of pre-sentence custody credits before arriving at prison, and was eligible for day-for-day credits per California sentencing laws.

Vidal was released to post-release community supervision on Aug. 1, 2019.

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