KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The man accused by deputies of killing St. Cloud mom Nicole Montalvo will no longer be held in jail on murder charges, an Osceola County judge ruled Tuesday afternoon.
- Estranged husband of Nicole Montalvo can't be held on murder charge
- Judge says formal murder charges weren't filed before deadline
At a pretrial hearing for Christopher Otero-Rivera, his attorney petitioned the judge to release his client on his own recognizance, saying prosecutors failed to file formal charges against him in the required time.
The judge agreed, though Rivera will remain in jail on a probation violation charge.
Otero-Rivera is accused of killing Montalvo, his estranged wife, in October. Her remains were found at the St. Cloud home of Otero-Rivera and his father days after she was reported missing.
Otero-Rivera and his father, Angel Rivera, were soon charged with premeditated murder. Otero-Rivera was being held on a bond of a $100,000.
Two of Nicole Montalvo’s friends who were in the courtroom were visibly upset by the judge's ruling.
The State Attorney's Office told Spectrum News 13 on Tuesday that it did not miss any deadline "within which we could have legally proceeded."
"Our prosecutors will continue to work with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office as this open and active investigation continues," it said in an emailed statement.
Attorney and legal expert Jonathan Rose says while he’s in jail for now, there could be a way for Otero-Rivera to be released.
"Once the violation of probation case is resolved, then conceivably he could get out of jail," Rose said.
But Rose said his release is unlikely. With the violation of probation on serious domestic violence charges, Rose said Otero-Rivera has lost his right to bond.
“They don’t need to rush to judgment to present evidence when they have a great deal of evidence to support this person staying in jail for a very long time,” he explained.
In addition to his father, other members of his family have been charged with various crimes since his arrest. Nicholas Rivera, 28, was taken into custody on a warrant charging him with eight counts of possession of child pornography while he was in Georgia. He has since bonded out of jail.
His mother, Wanda Rivera, posted her $100,000 bond on Saturday, November 2, 2019, after she was arrested for tampering with evidence and lying to detectives.
Friends and supporters of Montalvo held a private vigil to remember her at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Osceola Memorial Gardens on Boggy Creek Road.