This case takes place in Marshville, Massachusetts on April 10th of 1980. James Riva was 23 years of age when he murdered his disabled grandmother; 74 year old Carmen Lopez had been sitting in her wheelchair when she was attacked. On this afternoon James had dressed himself up in a suit, painted some bullets gold, and went to confront the older lady. Carmen begged for her life, then she threw a glass of water at her grandson. The older woman was shot 4 times, and stabbed through the heart; some accounts claim that she was also beaten, and it is believed that James drank the blood from his victim’s open wounds. Next he spread an accelerant all over the room, lit a match, and fled the scene. After the fire was finally extinguished, poor Carmen was discovered laying in the fetal position on her bedroom floor.
It turns out that James had truly believed that not only was he a vampire, but that all of the people in his life were as well. The young man was convinced that not only had granny been poisoning his food, but that once he’d fallen to sleep at night the wheelchair bound elderly woman would silently sneak into his bedroom to feast upon his blood.
Once arrested James stated that he possessed no memory of having hurt his grandmother, and that he must’ve been sleepwalking. It finally came out that he’d committed this atrocity due to the voices in his head. They’d told James that it was kill or be killed, and that consuming grandma’s blood would leave him immortal. He had also been under the impression that after he’d done the deed, all of the other vampires would get together to throw James a party, and women would find him irresistible. As for the bullets, they’d been carefully painted gold so that they could “find their mark”.
James had become absolutely obsessed with vampires at the young age of 13, and he had a history of killing animals in order to drink their blood. This was done to replenish his own blood supply, which he’d believed important as vampires continuously fed from him. He claimed that he’d also attacked humans in order to drink their blood in the past, but he’d always been opposed to the idea of killing anyone – well, except for his own father.
As a young child James claims that he’d attempted to murder good old dad with a hammer. He’s also spoken of childhood abuse, including sexual incidents, and has recounted memories of his mother performing witch’s rituals on him. The man’s stories change so often and are usually so outlandish that it’s thought most (if not all) of it was likely hallucinated.
Surely you’ve already come to the conclusion that mental illness plays a big role in this case. James had a life long history of it, and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia as a very young man; not only did he have the vampire obsession, but he’d constantly carried on conversations with “the devil”. Though he’d been treated many times over the years for his afflictions, James never got any better; it was even reported that he’d drawn blood from fellow patients during one of his many stays at a psych hospital! Upon his last release, James’s family had been so terrified of him that, get this, they sent him to live with wheelchair bound granny – that makes loads of sense!
At trial James pled not guilty by reason of insanity, but was convicted of second degree murder, arson, assault, and battery. He was sentenced to life in prison for murder, and he received an additional ten to twenty years for the arson charge. After he’d been in prison for a while, James attempted to murder a corrections officer, and he was finally sent to a psychiatric unit. While it’s said that he’s turned to religion these days and is mentally stable, James still doesn’t seem too remorseful and has recently been denied parole.
*Several of y’all mentioned the mistakes in my last article, which people are always so quick to do. Yes, there were mistakes. I had taken a break from social media and was trying to post something for y’all real quick as it had been a while. That particular article was written and published within a single day; though I’m very familiar with the case, that still included cross checking dates, details, writing, and proof reading multiple times. That said, please keep in mind that I’m only one person, and every single thing that you have read here was written on my cell phone as I do not own a computer. It’s autocorrect, y’all! I try to catch the mistakes, I do my best, but I do not have an editor as I do this (other than Patreon) for free. I could probably afford an editor if I would set up Google Ad Sense (this site gets a lot of traffic) but I promised y’all that I would never make you dodge ads in order to read my articles – hence the reason I have a Patreon. My point is, cut me some slack, please. The more my work is picked apart, the less I want to write. Imagine having an off day (I’ve had a super bad month, worst month of my life) and multiple people point out your every mistake. Please be kind, please.