Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier Defendant Edgar Geovani Lainez-Portillo in court Tuesday.

A Redwood City man who shot and killed a masonry worker in a south Los Altos backyard will serve 50 years to life for the city's first murder in more than a quarter-century.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Charles E. Wilson II spoke directly to defendant Edgar Geovani Lainez-Portillo Dec. 8 after listening to statements from victim Roberto Rivera’s two children and their mother.

“I’m hoping that the time you’re going to be spending – and it is significant, in custody – that you’ll have an opportunity to think about why you’re there,” Wilson said. “As the victim was speaking today, I couldn’t help but think about how painful it is for them to consider what their future is going to hold without their family member. And that is a result of your actions. Let there be no doubt about it.”

Lainez-Portillo, 25, pleaded guilty Aug. 4 to a first-degree murder charge with a firearm enhancement. He may be eligible for early release after serving 25 years because he was under the age of 26 at the time of the crime.

On May 4, Lainez-Portillo rode a motorcycle to a Highlands Circle home, pulled out a gun and shot Rivera, a 48-year-old Union City resident, in the head and back and then fled the scene, according to a statement of facts written by Los Altos Police Department Sgt. Cameron Shearer. Security footage at the home captured Lainez-Portillo’s image as he drove up to the curb and entered the home’s side yard.

A witness told detectives she attended a party with Lainez-Portillo four days after the murder, and that he said he had “done something bad” and killed someone, Shearer wrote. Another woman said she had dated both Lainez-Portillo and Rivera but broke off her relationship with the former just days before the murder.

“Although Lainez-Portillo had exhibited (jealousy) about another boyfriend, he had never expressed any serious (jealousy) towards victim Rivera,” Shearer wrote.

Wilson also imposed $28,500 in restitution Lainez-Portillo must pay to the mother of Rivera’s two children. The amount is based on the $1,500 Rivera contributed to support his children each month, and is calculated through age 18, which both children are approaching.

" Courtesy of Mothers Against Murder Roberto Rivera with his son and daughter.

Margaret Petros, executive director of Los Altos-based Mothers Against Murder, read statements from Rivera’s children and their mother during Tuesday’s hearing.

“Every son wants their father to teach them how to be a man by teaching them to shave and how to take care of yourself as a boy,” Petros said, reading the statement written by Rivera’s son. “Now I don’t have that. All I have left of him is memories. My life truly does not feel complete without him.”


Petros said Rivera’s murder marked the first one the city has experienced in 29 years. In 1991, Los Altos resident Dawn Sanchez, 32, disappeared. Investigators never found her body but witness accounts led them to Santa Clara resident Bernardo Bass, 48, who ultimately pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to six years in prison.

To contribute to the Roberto Rivera Memorial Fund for the benefit of his children, donate to Wells Fargo account No 1028956041. For more information on Mothers Against Murder, visit

Read the full victim impact statement from Rivera's daughter


Read the full victim impact statement from Rivera's son


Read the victim impact statement of the children's mother



Oct. 14: Sentencing date set in Los Altos murder case


Aug. 4: Guilty plea entered in Los Altos murder case


June 25: Memorial fund established for children of man murdered in Los Altos


May 14: