Gang member pleads guilty in 2005 murder of C.W. Post basketball player

ISLAND PARK, Long Island (WABC) -- A reputed gang member pleaded guilty Thursday in the 2005 murder of a college basketball player on Long Island.

Jaime Rivera faces anywhere from 10 years to life in prison when he is sentenced in November in the death of C.W. Post star Tafare Berryman.

"To maintain and further my position in the Latin Kings, I knowingly and intentionally murdered Tafare Berryman," he told the judge.

Rivera, the son of a New York City police officer, made the plea as part of an agreement with the prosecution.

Berryman, 22, was just weeks away from graduating college at C.W. Post. He was killed as he attempted to get away from a knife fight at an Island Park club.

"It's crazy," mom Dawn Thompson said after the court appearance. "How can you take somebody's life like that? An innocent young man who never bothered you, who never troubled you. Why? Why? And I ask myself, why me? Why my son? And my heart is so broken for 14 years. I just want to get peace. Now I'll put it behind me and move on. I'm glad he pleaded guilty today."

According to court documents, Rivera -- the son of a retired New York City police officer -- mistook Berryman for someone else who was threatening the gang.

The case remained unsolved for more than a decade and was featured on the TV show "America's Most Wanted" in 2006.

When authorities caught up with Rivera in February of 2017, he initially fled from apprehension by driving onto the sidewalk and crashing into a tree and a fence.

He avoided capture for three days, collecting money during that time to make his escape. He had $1,000 in cash in his possession when he was caught.

Rivera was arrested on information from informants. Under his plea deal with the government, he faces a minimum of ten years and a maximum of life in federal prison. Sentencing is set for November.

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