Man pleads guilty to stealing from dead man

Above, Joaquin Rivera, musi- cian and Puerto Rican community activist. Left, Richard Alten.
Above, Joaquin Rivera, musi- cian and Puerto Rican community activist. Left, Richard Alten.
Posted: August 23, 2010

The third and final defendant arrested last year for stealing a watch from the wrist of a dead man in a hospital waiting room pleaded guilty this morning.

Richard Alten, 45, pleaded guilty to theft and conspiracy charges and was sentenced to 30 months of reporting probation and drug and alcohol screening by Common Plead Judge Adam Beloff.

Co-defendants Jannira Walker, 22, and Martin Smith, 42, earlier this year pleaded guilty to the same charges and received similar sentences, said Assistant District Attorney Jill Fertel.

The trio drew headlines and outrage when surveillance video from the Aria Health-Frankford Campus hospital showed them hovering around an unconscious Joaquin Rivera, a Puerto Rican community leader who had gone to the hospital the late evening of Nov. 28 complaining of pain in his chest and left side.

As Rivera, 63, slumped in his seat, Smith took the watch from his wrist and he and the two others left together.

Rivera, a well known community activist, musician and Olney High School bilingual student counselor, was pronounced dead shortly after midnight Nov. 29.

Police returned the watch to his family after arresting the three suspects, all said to have been drug addicted and homeless.

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