A Tulare County jury found Jorge Rivera, 29, guilty of first-degree murder on Tuesday in the 2019 slaying of Visalia dairyman Anthony “Tony” Dragt.
Dragt’s shooting death stunned Tulare County residents as well as the dairy industry across the nation.
The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office announced Rivera’s conviction in a news release on Wednesday morning.
The jury found that on Sept. 3, 2019, Rivera shot his former boss multiple times with a 9 mm handgun at the dairy in the 10100 block of Avenue 352.
Witnesses told detectives that Rivera had been looking for Dragt. In addition, a car believed to be Rivera’s black Chrysler 200 was seen on surveillance leaving the area after the homicide.
Tulare County Sheriff’s Office detectives tracked down Rivera’s cellphone number and pinged it on Highway 99 heading south toward Bakersfield. After tracking Rivera’s car, he was taken into custody that night in the Richgrove area. Four guns, including the murder weapon and an AR-15, were found in his car.
The jury also convicted Rivera of being a felon with an assault weapon and a felon with a firearm.
Sentencing Set for March 29
Rivera faces life in prison at his sentencing on March 29.
Supervising deputy district attorney Jessica Weatherly prosecuted the case.
Dragt was 56 at the time of his death. He was born in Escondido and moved with his family to Visalia in 1973. His survivors said that Dragt loved family events, the outdoors, sports, and being a dairyman.