Man convicted in Northern California 'golden flute' slaying

A Northern California man has been convicted of killing a retiree as part of an elaborate plan to steal the older man's sterling silver and solid gold flutes.

A Contra Costa County jury deliberated for about two days before finding 24-year-old Alejandro Hernandez Rivera of Vallejo guilty of first-degree murder in the December 2008 strangling death of 66-year-old Theodore Neff of Bay Point.

Prosecutors allege Rivera moonlighted as a prostitute and advertised his sexual services on Craigslist. They say Rivera counted Neff as a regular client before he strangled the man, set fire to his town house and made off with the valuable flutes.

During his trial, Rivera admitted strangling Neff but claimed he lost control after Neff told him he may have been exposed to the HIV virus.

Rivera faces a maximum prison sentence of 28 years to life.

© 2010 The Associated Press.

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