Jackson County Circuit Judge John Graham quoted Shakespeare moments before sentencing Brandon Blaine Berry to consecutive life sentences in the 2018 death of David Christen Lorenzo Rivamonte, 30 of Huntsville.
“As I listened to witness after witness describe what you and others did to David Christen Lorenzo Rivamonte during his kidnapping, his horrific torture and his execution, I kept thinking of a line from Shakespeare: Hell is empty, and all the devils are here,” Graham said to Berry during the sentencing phase Tuesday.
Graham said the line surely describes the scene over the excruciating hours as the victim was subjected to the appalling, inhumane horrors.
“Hours when it must have seemed to David that Hell was indeed emptied, and all the devils were there in the room surrounding him, torturing him,” added Graham.
Berry was convicted of murder and kidnapping in a May trial. Authorities found the remains of Rivamonte, who was autistic, in a wooded area near County Road 86 in Woodville after receiving information from another agency of a homicide committed. Berry was charged on Sept. 18, 2018.
Graham said Berry had already been shown great mercy and restraint by a grand jury when it failed to indict him for capital murder, which would have made Berry death-penalty eligible.
According to testimony during the week-long trial, Rivamonte was autistic, and his family reported him missing on Sept. 5, 2018. Rivamonte came up on some people in Woodville, near Paint Rock River.
Evidence and testimony showed Berry beat Rivamonte and later transported him a short distance into Marshall County, where witnesses say he beat on the victim some more.
Finally, Berry took Rivamonte down the road in a truck and came back alone, where it was later learned Rivamonte’s body was in a blue tarp in the back of the truck and later buried in a wooded area.
Evidence showed Rivamonte was shot with a 380 pistol in the head.
“Most homicides we see in court have some excuse or some modicum of reason at their core— passion, anger, jealousy, money, sex, drugs, recklessness—anything that provides even an ounce of explanation or what happened,” said Graham. “But this case is different. It was none of those things. There is no excuse at all for this crime.”
Graham told Berry that he and his so-called “friends’ took Rivamonte over a period of at least two days, to two different places, zip-tied or handcuffed him to two different chairs, surrounded him with tarps and plastic to catch his blood or whatever else he might shed, and tortured him, degraded him, dehumanized him, then shot and killed him, all in the presence of witnesses.
“This was not enough for you and them, so you then exhibited his dead body in the bed of a pickup truck, and later in a wheelbarrow before burying it underneath a trash pile, where it remained until found by law enforcement days later,” Graham said to Berry, who stood between his two court-appointed attorneys, Jayson Carroll and Seth Ashmore, and declined to comment.
In addition to the two life sentences, which will run consecutively, Graham said in each case, Berry is assessed all costs, including a crime victim compensation assessment in the amount of $10,000 and reimbursement of the fees and expenses of his court-appointed attorneys. In each case, Berry is also assessed a fine of $60,000.
The payment of the court-ordered monies are a condition of parole or any other release program.