A Hickory man will spend the rest of his life in prison after a Catawba County jury found him guilty of two counts of accessory before the fact to first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of two people more than five years ago.
Jordan Alexander Rivera, 29, was given two consecutive life sentences by the Honorable Athena F. Brooks, Superior Court Judge from Henderson County, on Monday, June 7, 2021, at the end of a trial of more than four weeks in Catawba County Superior Court.
Rivera was found guilty for his role in the March 12, 2016, home invasion and shooting deaths of 34-year-old Mark Anthony Wilson and 39-year-old Deidra LaCarol Ramseur at the couple’s home on Rest Home Road in Claremont.
Rivera also was found guilty of aiding and abetting first-degree burglary and robbery with a dangerous weapon. In addition, he was given a sentence of 33 to 52 months to be served consecutively to his life sentences after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon and possession of firearm by a felon.
“This was one of the oldest cases we had. It was set for trial in May 2020 but had to be delayed because of COVID,” District Attorney Scott Reilly said. “The (Catawba County) Sheriff’s Office worked really hard on the investigation of this case to help us get it ready for trial. It’s a tragic situation that two people were killed in such a way, but I’m glad we were able to get justice for the victims’ families. It won’t bring back their loved ones, but hopefully it gives them a sense of closure.”
Rivera will serve his incarceration period in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections.
“We are certainly pleased with the outcome of this case. Our partnership with our District Attorney’s Office is vital in protecting our communities,” Catawba County Sheriff Don Brown said. “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of Deidra Ramseur, Mark Wilson and all those affected by this tragedy. Justice was served today.”
The jury returned its verdict Monday morning as the case crept into its fifth week of trial after a total of about five hours of deliberation dating back to Friday when it received the case.
The trial started May 10. The State presented evidence that included testimony from multiple investigators, a pathologist and one of three co-defendants in the case who already has been convicted and sentenced, as well as a video interview of the defendant.
The defense did not present any evidence.
Three of Rivera’s four co-defendants already have pleaded guilty for their involvement in the murders and have been sentenced. Devin Maurice Ussery, William Crawford Powell Jr. and Reand Pablo-Antonio Rivera are serving sentences in custody of the DAC.
A fourth co-defendant is scheduled for trial in July. He is considered innocent unless and until proven in guilty in a court of law.
While Jordan Rivera was not at the scene of the deadly home invasion, the State argued that he was the mastermind behind the plan to rob Wilson and Ramseur of drugs and money then aided with the disposal of weapons and development of a cover story after the couple was killed.
“For whatever the reason, Jordan Rivera was instrumental in setting into motion a home invasion in the middle of the night miles from his residence,” Prosecutor Lance Sigmon said in his closing argument. “Jordan was calling the shots. It was his plan. He induced others to participate. He was in a position of leadership. He developed a plan of action and was waiting for them to return and profit from their actions. Now it’s time to hold him accountable.”
The State presented evidence that showed Jordan Rivera’s co-defendants went to a rural area of the county in the early hours of the morning, kicked in the door of the home and killed two people, for approximately $1,200 and about 30 grams of marijuana.
“He gathered the troops, provided the tools (weapons) and supplied the driver,” Sigmon said, noting that Jordan Rivera, in his interview with investigators seen by the jury, said on more than one occasion, “If I tell them to go, they’ll go,” and “If I tell them to do it, they’ll do it.”
Latara Ramseur, sister of Deidra, and Teresa Rippy, Deidra’s mother, both spoke before the sentences were handed down by Judge Brooks.
“Today was a good day. No, not a good day, a great day. In five years since my sister’s been gone, I’ve not had a great day,” Latara Ramseur said. “He’s the reason she’s gone, why Mark is gone. If it wasn’t for him they’d still be here. I wish nothing good for you or your co-defendants. Thank God that you don’t need my forgiveness to make it.”
Rippy added, “I’ve been hurting for five years. This is the worst thing that could happen: to birth a child then bury her. She was supposed to bury me. I thank God today for this jury. Today, justice has been done, and I give God all the glory.”
Rivera did speak briefly, maintaining that he had nothing to do with the deaths of Mark Wilson and Deidra Ramseur.
“I apologize that ya’ll feel like I caused this. I didn’t. At the end of the day, I stand on that. I never told anybody to go over there,” he said.
The murder cases were investigated by the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant District Attorneys Lance Sigmon and Sean Baetjer handled prosecution for the State.
CONTACT: Nathan Key