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Ex-Border Patrol agent sentenced to life in prison in off-duty hatchet attack

March 29, 2011 |  5:44 pm

A former Border Patrol agent was sentenced in a Vista court Tuesday to 30 years to life in prison for an off-duty hatchet attack that left a man blind and brain-damaged and a woman with deep cuts.

Gamalier Reyes Rivera, 34, had planned to attack his estranged wife and her new boyfriend as they slept, according to court testimony, but in the dark he mistakenly went into the wrong bedroom and attacked a couple he had never met. The 2009 attack occurred in a rental home in Escondido.

Rivera was convicted of attempted murder. The sentencing by Superior Court Judge Runston Maino means Rivera will not be eligible for parole for at least 30 years, officials said.

At the time of the attack, Rivera had been with the Border Patrol for six years.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego