Philly man convicted of 5 counts of murder for 2003 firebombing

Kristen Johanson
January 18, 2019 - 7:26 pm
Abdu Rivera

Philadelphia Police Department


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- A Philadelphia man has been found guilty of five counts of first-degree murder in a firebombing more than 15 years ago that left a family dead.

Judge Scott O'Keefe has convicted 35-year-old Abdu Rivera of first-degree murder for setting a home in the city's Olney neighborhood on fire and killing five people in November 2003.

The incident, authorities say, stemmed from a fight the night before between Rivera and the intended target, then 23-year-old John Santiago.

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Prosecutors say Rivera went to Santiago's home on Widener Street, doused it with gasoline and set it on fire, killing Santiago, his brother and mother, his 17-year-old girlfriend and their newborn baby.

A pair of homicide detectives resurrected the cold case in 2014 after a witness came forward, leading authorities to the arrest.

Rivera, who was also convicted of arson and causing a catastrophe, has been sentenced to life, without the possibility of parole.