Man Charged With Murder After Life Sentence Is Commuted (Photos)

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A Washington man who had his life sentence commuted is back in jail on murder charges.

Stonney Marcus Rivers, 50, was freed from prison in 2015 after serving 20 years of a life sentence, the Daily Mail reported. He was convicted of his third felony -- a second-degree burglary charge -- in 1995.

Rivers, who received his life sentence under a three-strikes law, had his sentence commuted by then-Gov. Christine Gregoire. He is now being charged with the Nov. 2 murder of 24-year-old David Cabrera.

"Rivers continues to commit crimes, even when he is on community custody and even after being given a once-in-a-lifetime second chance through a governor’s commutation," Senior Deputy Prosecutor John Castleton wrote in charging papers, according to the Seattle Times.

Prosecutors said Rivers was accompanied by a second man on the morning of the murder. That man was identified as Theneious Fisteral Swafford, 47.

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Swafford allegedly drove Rivers to a local motel. Police say Swafford entered Cabrera's motel room at around 7:30 a.m. The victim was with his girlfriend at the time.

A second man burst into the room, pulled a gun from his waistband and shot Cabrera in the face, according to charging documents.

Cabrera's girlfriend ran out of the room and asked the motel's manager to call 911. Authorities used surveillance video to identify Rivers as the shooter. They matched the images with his driver's license and social media photos.

Rivers was taken into custody on Nov. 11 after turning himself in for an unrelated identity theft charge. He is now being held without bail on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree assault and identity theft. He could face life in prison again if convicted in the murder case.

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Swafford was also charged with first-degree murder.

Gregoire has since issued a statement on the matter through her former chief of staff. She said she commuted Rivers' initial life sentence based on recommendations made by King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, members of the state Clemency and Pardons Board and the judge who was hearing the case at the time.

“Their recommendations carried great weight with me,” Gregoire wrote, adding that Rivers had already served 20 years at the time of his release.

“Robbery 2 typically results in a sentence of two to three years," Gregoire explained. "Based on these recommendations and the facts available at the time, to include his performance while in prison, I conditionally commuted Mr. Rivers sentence to his time served subject to compliance with twenty-one different conditions."

Sources: Daily Mail, Seattle Times / Featured Image: Joe Gratz/Flickr / Embedded Images: Washington Department of Corrections via Daily Mail, AP via Daily Mail

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