Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw announced that a Philadelphia man was sentenced today to 25 years in prison for killing a woman inside a Maple Shade motel last spring.
Alexander Rivera, 27, must serve 85 percent of the term before becoming eligible for parole. Rivera pled guilty in July to Aggravated Manslaughter (First Degree). The sentence was handed down in Superior Court in Mount Holly by the Hon. Gerard H. Breland, J.S.C.
The investigation began May 11, 2022 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.
“This was a fierce, unprovoked attack against an unsuspecting victim,” Prosecutor Bradshaw said. “We join those who loved Michelle Johnston, including her two children, in mourning her tragic loss, and are grateful to everyone involved in this case who helped us bring justice for her death.”
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 was 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.