This time, charged with murder: Accused of pushing woman to her death from a moving pickup

This time, charged with murder: Accused of pushing woman to her death from a moving pickup

(As originally published with several additional photos, Tue, March 12th 2024 at 6:11 PM)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (TND) — A man wanted for grand theft of a motor vehicle is facing a murder charge after he allegedly pushed a woman out of a pickup truck that police were chasing.

Daytona Beach police in Florida said they learned Julio Angel Rivera was in a white GMC pickup truck two weeks ago, on Feb. 27, which took off when they tried to conduct a traffic stop.

Rivera’s arrest report said before long, “Units observed the rear driver side door of the GMC open as the vehicle continued fleeing.”

Then, the driver made a left turn and “Units observed the victim fall out of the vehicle and impact the pavement on the south side of the road.”

The GMC continued “at a high rate of speed in wanton disregard for the safety of pedestrians and other motorists in the area.”

Police lost sight of the pickup but later found it abandoned.

According to the arrest report, “It appeared the victim was forcefully pushed from the vehicle.”

It mentioned witnesses saying they saw “the victim in the backseat of the vehicle and that she appeared to be in distress.

“These residents stated that they could hear the victim screaming for help.”

The victim, later identified as Gina Jennings, was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead.

Eventually, units discovered the GMC abandoned and started looking for the handful of people believed to have been inside.

Police found some of them in a home.

The arrest report said one witness told police Rivera “was seated in the back seat [and] began directing the driver of the vehicle to start driving toward an unknown location.

This time, charged with murder: Accused of pushing woman to her death from a moving pickup
Julio Angel Rivera was booked into jail 5 times in the past 5 years: From left, in 2019, twice in 2020, in 2022, and on Feb. 28, 2024, for charges including 2nd-degree murder. (Volusia Sheriff’s Office)

“A few minutes later, [the witness] observed the victim walking down the road.

“The GMC came to a stop and the victim climbed into the rear driver’s side seat.

“[The witness] stated that the defendant began arguing with the victim over money.

“[The witness] stated that the defendant appeared to be accusing the victim of stealing money from another, unknown person.”

Then came the attempted traffic stop and according to the witness, Rivera “then stated that ‘she set me up’ and ordered the driver to flee the scene, to which the driver complied.

“[The witness] stated that as the vehicle was fleeing, the rear driver side door opened and the defendant pushed the victim out of the vehicle.”

Jennings’ autopsy “found several internal injuries to include fractures to the victim’s lumbar, pelvis, and spine,” plus “significant internal bleeding.”

According to the arrest report, “These injuries are consistent with blunt force trauma and that the cause of death is homicide.”

Rivera was arrested that night on unrelated charges and taken to a hospital.

“He sustained injuries from a motorcycle crash that he was involved in,” according to the arrest report, but a police news release had a different story: “Prior to being taken into custody, Rivera ingested a substance and is currently hospitalized.”

Two detectives visited him the next day and reported Rivera saying, “The victim called him in a panic asking for help.

“The defendant advised that he was close to the victim and described her as an ‘old lady.’”

Then, “The defendant stated that he got into the truck with several other people and began driving to go pick up the victim.”

But, “During the interview, the defendant became angry and blamed the incident on law enforcement.

“The defendant stated that the members of the police department used the victim to set him up.

“The defendant initially stated that the victim jumped out of the truck but then changed his statement and claimed that he ‘blacked out.’

“The defendant stated that there were several other people in the truck but that he could not remember their names.

“The defendant did advise that one of the individuals in the truck was the person who owned the vehicle.”

Rivera, 45, was charged with second-degree murder, grand theft, driving with a suspended license, failure to obey law enforcement commands, resisting officers, battery, and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.

Police said Michael Doudney owned the pickup and was driving it at the time. The 36-year-old was charged with fleeing and eluding.

Jeremy First, 46, was also arrested, but on an unrelated warrant from Orange County.

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