Two weeks from today, Nelson Rivera will watch as his wife's killer is put to death in Virginia's execution chamber.
The 38-year-old landscaper says he is not generally in favor of the death penalty, but he is determined to be there when John Allen Muhammad, the infamous D.C.-area sniper, is put to death Nov. 10.
"I want to see it," Rivera said during an interview in his Antelope-area home. "I want to see his expression. I want to see how he feels."
Rivera's wife, Lori, then 25 years old, was gunned down Oct. 3, 2002, while vacuuming her minivan at a gas station in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C. The killing was part of a random shooting spree that autumn that left 10 people dead and terrified the D.C. area.
"I just want to be there," Rivera said. "It's like I'm closing the last chapter of that book."
Last week, as Rivera talked of his trip, the Honduran native was taking another important step in his life.
On Wednesday morning, he and 796 other immigrants filed into Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium and, in a ceremony that was alternately solemn and raucous, became U.S. citizens.
"It's a different world for us now," Rivera said afterward. "I was just thinking, I've become a citizen of the United States. It's a great feeling."
Rivera remarried in 2004, and his family accompanied him Wednesday to the citizenship ceremony. His new wife, Kimberly, a 36-year-old second-grade teacher, joined him along with their two children, 3-month-old Emily and 3-year-old Nathan.
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