Dana Rivers, the trans rights activist and alleged biker gang "enforcer" who was convicted in November of killing two women and their son in a gruesome 2016 triple murder, has launched a last-ditch effort to avoid a spending the rest of her life in prison.
The triple murder occurred in November 2016 at a home on Dunbar Drive in Oakland, near the Coliseum. Two women, later identified as 56-year-old Charlotte Reed and her wife, 57-year-old Patricia Wright, were the victims, along with Wright's 19-year-old son, Benny Toto Diambu-Wright.
Rivers's motive in the killing was never abundantly clear, but prosecutors say that she was acquainted with Reed from Reed's brief stint in an all-female motorcycle club called the Deviants, which had some affiliations with the Hells Angels. Reed had left the club, and prosecutors argued that Rivers had for some reason sought to retaliate against Reed for leaving.
Rivers allegedly had befriend Reed over months, gaining her trust, and arranged to sleep over at the couple's home the night of the murders. After the family had gone to sleep, Rivers allegedly stabbed Reed dozens of times in an act police called "overkill," and only stabbed Wright twice. The son was shot in the back in front of the house as he tried to flee.
Arriving police said they saw Rivers walk out of the house covered in blood and smelling of gasoline, after she allegedly poured gasoline in the home's garage in an attempt to light it on fire and cover up her crimes.
Prosecutors pointed to the pride that Rivers took in her role as the Deviants' "enforcer," going by the nickname "Edge," and that she has a tattoo identifying herself as a "1 percenter" — which refers to to small percentage of motorcycle clubs that turn criminal.
A jury in Alameda County deliberated for less than a day in November 2022 before convicting Rivers, now 67, of committing the three murders. A subsequent phase of the trial examined whether or not Rivers was sane at the time the murders were committed, and the judge concluded in January that she was.
Rivers had initially entered a plea of not guilty, and then changed that to not guilty due to insanity.
Rivers was about to be sentenced when her attorney, Melissa Adams, filed a 36-page motion on her behalf this week, arguing she should be entitled to a new trial. Adams argued multiple things that she says justify a new trial, including the denial of a requested haircut for Rivers before the trial began, and the fact that the prosecution was permitted to make broad comparisons between the Deviants and the Hells Angels, implying that they were a street gang.
As Bay Area News Group reports, the motion comes two days before Rivers is scheduled to appear at a sentencing hearing. If Judge Scott Patton denials the new motion, Rivers is likely to be handed a life sentence on Wednesday.
Before any of this occurred, Rivers was a teacher in a school district outisde Sacramento, and became trans activist who once successfully sued that school district after transitioning and being fired. That case gained national attention, after the school district fired Rivers for sharing details of her transition with students, and she ultimately settled with the school district for $150,000. She then moved to the Bay Area and became a vocal trans activist, appearing on ABC's 20/20 to discuss her case. It's not clear when her involvement with the now defunct Deviants began.