Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw announced that a 27-year-old Philadelphia man pled guilty today in Superior Court to killing a woman inside a Maple Shade motel last spring.
Under an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office, Alexander Rivera admitted to the slaying in exchange for a 25-year term in state prison. His guilty plea to Aggravated Manslaughter (First Degree) was entered in Mount Holly before the Hon. Gerard H. Breland, J.S.C., who scheduled sentencing for August 18.
The investigation began just before 11:30 a.m. on May 11 after officers from the Maple Shade Police Department were called to the Bel-Air Motor Lodge on Route 73 for a report of an unresponsive female.
Michelle Johnston, 36, who had previously lived in multiple locations in the Burlington and Camden county areas, was found deceased in room 410. An autopsy performed by Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood determined the cause of death was strangulation and multiple stab wounds.
Rivera was taken into custody at his residence in November by the U.S. Marshals Service New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force.
Rivera is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Bob Van Gilst, supervisor of the BCPO Major Crimes Unit. The investigation was conducted by detectives from the Prosecutor’s Office and the Maple Shade Police Department, with assistance from the Philadelphia Police Department Homicide Unit and the Burlington County Medical Examiner’s Office. The lead investigators are BCPO Detectives Shawn McDonough and Melyssa Alonso, and MSPD Corporal Anthony Blinebury.