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Bucks County Courier Times

Falls man takes plea deal to avoid death penalty in murder of his mother

By Jo Ciavaglia, Bucks County Courier Times,


To avoid death row, a Falls man has agreed to tell detectives the details of what happened the night he drugged, kidnapped and killed his elderly mother earlier this year.

At a brief court appearance Tuesday, Sean Rivera, 28, waived his right to a preliminary hearing on five felony charges including homicide and related misdemeanors in the April murder of Carol Clark.

The waiver was part of a plea offer that Rivera’s public defender brokered with the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office including a promise not to seek the death penalty.

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Under the agreement, Rivera will plead guilty in Bucks County court to all charges and agree to serve a life sentence without parole.

He also must agree to meet with detectives before his formal arraignment next month and provide them with the details of what happened the night of the kidnapping and murder.

If Rivera rescinded his plea agreement, the information he provided detectives could be admitted as evidence at trial, Assistant District Attorney Monica Furber said.

The circumstances surrounding Clark’s murder the morning of her 72nd birthday remain largely unknown, according to authorities.

Rivera lived with Clark in the 500 block of Berwyn Road in Falls.  He told police the night before the murder he laced his mother’s iced tea with fentanyl, a powerful prescription opioid.

About eight hours later, early in the morning of April 9, he put his mother in her wheelchair and loaded her into her Toyota RAV4. Rivera claimed his mother was conscious, but lethargic, according to court documents.

Rivera then drove to a property in the 4300 block of Waln Street in Philadelphia, where he shot Clark multiple times. He then put her body in a shed on the property and replaced a lock that he had cut off, police said.

Police found Clark on April 10 after she was reported missing the day before.

Police started investigating Clark’s disappearance after another son, who lives in New York, reported Rivera called him and claimed their mother died and asked him to come to Pennsylvania.

When the brother arrived in Bucks County, Rivera claimed Clark got sick and died at a hospital in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. But when the brother checked with hospitals, none had Clark admitted as a patient.

Police used cellphone data to track Clark’s phone to the area of Forest Road and Sherwood Drive in Lower Makefield, but they could not find her or the phone, court documents said.

Falls police sent out a missing person press release on April 9, but then Rivera allegedly admitted to drugging and killing his mother.

Investigators found two handguns belonging to Rivera in the home and a receipt for a padlock that was used on the shed.

Rivera remains incarcerated without bail in Bucks County Correctional Center.

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This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Falls man takes plea deal to avoid death penalty in murder of his mother

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