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Ex-Border Patrol agent found guilty of off-duty hatchet attack

February 2, 2011 |  4:50 pm

A former Border Patrol agent was found guilty Wednesday of an off-duty hatchet attack on a sleeping couple that he mistakenly thought were his estranged wife and her boyfriend.

A jury in San Diego County Superior Court in Vista found Gamalier Reyes Rivera, 34, guilty of attempted murder and related charges in the 2009 attack in Escondido. Rivera, a six-year veteran of the Border Patrol at the time of the attack, faces life in prison when sentenced.

Rivera sneaked into the house planning to kill his estranged wife and her boyfriend but went into the wrong bedroom and began using the hatchet, prosecutors said. Only when one of the victims turned on the bedroom light did Rivera realize his error.

The male victim was left blind and with brain damage. The female suffered deep cuts in her legs.

Among the evidence presented during the trial was a "to-do" list written by Rivera that included killing his wife.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego