Brooklyn man sentenced to life for murder of estranged girlfriend

QUEENS, N.Y. — A Brooklyn man was sentenced to life in prison for the 2017 murder of his estranged girlfriend who had an active order of protection against him, the District Attorney announced.

Jerome Rivers, 54, was convicted earlier this year after being tried for second-degree murder and criminal contempt.

Rivers was released from Rikers Island Sept. 28, 2017 and immediately contacted his estranged girlfriend, Gia Pender, who had an order of protection in effect.

Pender and Rivers had a turbulent relationship, including several allegations of domestic abuse, according to trial testimony.

About two months prior, Pender was granted an order of protection, stating Rivers was to stay away from her and her residence.

Pender, concerned, went to a neighbor. She gave the neighbor her wallet, credit cards, pin numbers and her identification

“Jerome is coming over,” she told him, according to court documents. “If anything happens to me, give this to my mother.”

Rivers called 911 around 6 a.m. on Friday, officials said. He said he found Pender on the floor.

He allegedly told police he didn’t have a reason to kill Pender, but he also told them Pender had stolen checks intended for him and that she had disrespected his mother. He also said she had him locked up on trumped up domestic abuse charges.

An autopsy performed on the victim determined the cause of death was manual strangulation and that her injuries were not consistent with a fall, medical issue or accidentally choking.

Prior to the arrest, Rivers had 66 misdemeanor convictions and was previously adjudicated a level 3 registered sex offender, the highest level.

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