Inmate allegedly struck SCI Dallas officer with lock, causing him to lose vision

By Melanie Mizenko - | May 18th, 2017 7:59 pm

DALLAS — A convicted murderer doing time at SCI Dallas is now facing a felony charge of aggravated assault after he allegedly struck a corrections officer in the eye with a lock in 2015.

The violent blow caused the officer to lose vision in his right eye, records show.

Michael Rivera, 39, originally of Bucks County, had a preliminary hearing Thursday in front of District Judge James Tupper in Trucksville.

Rivera was in the state prison in Dallas on a 2001 sentence for murder in the third degree, carrying a firearm without a license, possession of a weapon with intent to harm and receiving stolen property. Those cases were from Reading.

According to a criminal complaint:

On Jan. 20, 2015, Rivera struck a corrections officer with a combination lock connected to a laundry strap.

The officer was taken to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and underwent surgery to repair his right eye.

During an interview with investigators, Rivera admitted he waited for the officer after packing his property and going for a haircut.

“I did assault (the officer) … with the contraband weapon in question,” Rivera wrote in a statement. He also admitted he assaulted officers more than once.

Doctors have determined the officer’s vision will not be coming back.

“The extent and magnitude of this fracture cannot be overstated,” the surgeon told police about the officer’s injury. Police said the officer lost the entire orbital floor of his eye socket.

Rivera faces formal arraignment 10 a.m. Aug. 3 in the Luzerne County Courthouse.

Times Leader reporter Eileen Godin contributed to this report.

By Melanie Mizenko

Reach Melanie Mizenko at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TL_MMizenko