Man to plead guilty in Meijer gas station clerk shooting

Local News

A man about to go to trial for gunning down a Meijer gas station clerk on Thanksgiving Day in 2017 will plead guilty. Victor Rivera was charged with murder in 25-year-old Jacob Walerko’s death.  

At the time, court documents revealed police watched surveillance video. On that video, an officer watched Rivera pull out “what appeared to be a sawed-off shotgun” and shot Walerko in the head.

Investigators said Rivera then jumped over the counter and stole a carton of cigarettes. He then fled across the parking lot. 

Police released those images to the public which resulted in numerous tips. Detectives learned through those tips that Rivera tried to work at the gas station and was making threats to workers because he didn’t get a job there. 

One tip stated Rivera was “very interested in watching the news about the shooting.” Another stated he “watched the news” after the shooting and another said when he saw it, “Oh man, I am in trouble.” 

Since 2017, the case has been pushed back repeatedly. At one point, Rivera was forced to wear a mask in court after he spit on one of his public defenders in the court room. 

Online court filings indicate a plea agreement filed by the state moved forward on Friday. His trial was expected to begin on March 12. A sentencing hearing for Rivera has been scheduled for May 17.  

Rivera was originally facing two murder charges, felony robbery resulting in serious bodily injury and a firearm charge. It’s unclear under the plea agreement what charges he plead guilty to or how many years he could face in prison. 

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