85-Year-Old Man Who Drove Over and Killed Romantic Rival Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

Johnny Westbrook, 85, of Asbury Park, New Jersey, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for driving over and killing romantic rival Daniel Rivera, 63.

Westbrook pleaded guilty before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Ellen Torregrossa-O'Connor to aggravated manslaughter to the hit-and-run that occurred three years ago. The sentence was handed out Monday and was announced Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

Westbrook followed Rivera, who was his neighbor in the nearby Dr. Robinson Towers apartment building, to a liquor store at the Super Supermarket on Memorial Drive in December 2018, the Asbury Park Press reported. He waited several minutes for Rivera in an area meant for delivery trucks.

After Rivera exited the store, he walked in front of Westbrook's SUV, which Westbrook had driven onto the sidewalk. Westbrook struck and dragged him several feet. Westbrook admitted that he didn't slow down or try to stop his car. He also understands that his actions led to Rivera's death.

After striking Rivera with his vehicle, Westbrook returned to his apartment, a release said. Police found the victim's blood and hair in the SUV's undercarriage, which had been parked a few hundred feet away from the crime scene.

Westbrook said during the plea hearing he knew Rivera from seeing him at their apartment building, where Rivera worked as a security guard.

Westbrook had pleaded guilty when it was explained to him that he could have been sentenced up to 30 years in prison for a first-degree offense without a plea bargain, the APP reported. With the plea deal, the state agreed to charge him for a second-degree crime and recommended a sentencing of 10 years. He must serve 85 percent of his time before he can be eligible for parole.

The hit-and-run was not Westbrook's first violent interaction with a romantic rival nor with Rivera.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Johnny Westbrook, Aggravated Manslaughter, Daniel Rivera
The hit-and-run was not Johnny Westbrook's first violent interaction with a romantic rival, having physically fought with the hit-and-run victim, Daniel Rivera, a month earlier, as well as shot a man in 2004 for having an affair with a woman to whom he gave an engagement ring. In this photo, an Asbury Park police officer evacuates storm voyeurs from the boardwalk during Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012, in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

A month earlier, authorities say Westbrook and Rivera got into a physical fight in the apartment building hallway, swinging canes at each other before Westbrook punched the victim in the nose.

Defense attorneys tried unsuccessfully to have Westbrook declared incompetent for trial, saying he had memory loss. A psychiatrist, though, testified that she believed Westbrook was faking or exaggerating any memory loss.

The Asbury Park Press has reported Westbrook previously served six years of a seven-year prison term in a February 2004 shooting in Neptune of a man who was having an affair with a 23-year-old woman to whom Westbrook had given an engagement ring.

Johnny Westbook, 85, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for running over and killing Daniel Rivera. Above, a close-up of judge gavel. Photo by Getty Images