Fresno District Attorney wants death penalty for woman charged with killing sister and baby

The Fresno County District Attorney’s office has announced it will seek the death penalty against Yarelly Solorio Rivera, the 23-year-old Fresno woman charged with the gruesome murder of her 18-year-old sister, Yanelly Solorio Rivera, and the victim’s 3-week-old baby.

Police say jealously caused Yarelly Solorio Rivera to sneak into Yanelly’s room in the early morning hours of Sept. 24, 2022, and shoot her younger sister and her sleeping baby cradled in her arms.

In an interview with Fresno detectives, Rivera admitted to shooting her sister several times at close range with a 9mm pistol and then turning the gun on her niece. The baby, Celine Solorio Rivera, was shot once in the stomach.

Rivera told detectives that jealousy and anger over the attention her sister and baby daughter were getting from her parents drove her to shoot them.

Yarelly Solorio Rivera’s boyfriend, Martin Arroyo Morales, 26, of Madera, also was there during the shootings and helped dispose of the murder weapon.

Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp, in a letter to presiding judge David Kalemkarian, made the court aware her office will be pursuing the death penalty against Rivera, but not Morales.

Rivera and Morales are charged with two counts of murder. Morales is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole, if convicted of all charges.

Prosecuting the case is Chief Deputy District Attorney Deborah Miller. Defending Rivera is Curtis B. Sok and Morales’s attorney is Jonathan Richter.

Taylor Long, public information officer for the district attorney’s office, said Friday that because the case is still pending, the office would not comment on why it is seeking the death penalty.

The only other death penalty case for Smittcamp was the Nov. 17, 2019, mass shooting that killed four people and injured six others. Three of the four defendants face the death penalty, if convicted.

California has not executed a prisoner since 2006 and isn’t likely to resume any time soon. In 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a moratorium on executions and shut down the state’s execution chamber.

Rivera and Morales are due back in court on Dec. 14 for a settlement conference.