The Weird Life Of A Transgender Triple Murderer Likely To Land In A Women’s Prison

Dana Rivers killed three people in 2016 and burned their house to hide the evidence.
Police mugshot of Dana Rivers by Alameda County Sheriff, California, 11 November 2016.
Police mugshot of Dana Rivers by Alameda County Sheriff, California, 11 November 2016.

Women’s rights activists are worried that an infamous triple murderer who claims he is a woman will land in a female prison when he is sentenced in June.

Dana Rivers, previously David Warfield, 67, was convicted in November of the triple murder of Charlotte Reed and Patricia Wright, a lesbian couple in their late 50s, and their 19-year-old son Benny Diambu-Wright, in Oakland in 2016.

The bodies of both women were found stabbed and shot with a .38 revolver, and the body of their son was found in the street with gunshot wounds. Shortly after police arrived, Rivers walked out of the house, covered in blood and reeking of gasoline. Police searched him and found bullets and brass knuckles.

Rivers was charged with three counts of first-degree murder, as well as arson for dousing the garage with gasoline and setting it on fire, an apparent attempt to destroy the evidence of the murders.

He is currently housed at Santa Rita Jail about 40 minutes north of San Jose. Rivers is expected to request housing in a women’s prison after he is sentenced on June 14.

California is permissive when it comes to allowing trans-identifying male inmates to be incarcerated in women’s facilities. Since 2021, the state has allowed at least 47 male inmates who identify as transgender or “non-binary” to transfer to women’s prisons. Many of those inmates do not appear to even try to present as female. Female inmates who said they were raped by their trans-identifying male fellow prisoners have sued the California prison system.

In December, a group of women activists with Women’s Declaration International were assaulted while protesting Rivers’ potential transfer to a women’s facility.


The small group of women were attacked by black-clad transgender activists while quietly holding signs reading “Dana Rivers is a Man” and “No Men in Women’s Prisons.”

The men smashed an egg on the head of Kara Dansky, the president of Women’s Declaration International. They shoved an open umbrella into Dansky and threw multiple pies at the women before ripping their signs away and speeding off on their bikes.

Rivers has been in the news since the 1990s.

In 1999, back when he was David Warfield, Rivers was fired from his teacher position at Center High School north of Sacramento after he talked to students about his plans to undergo a sex change.

Rivers told school district officials he was planning to have a sex-change operation and go on cross-sex hormones over the summer and return to teach in the fall as a woman.

District officials directed him not to discuss his sex change plans with students, but Rivers flouted that request and pulled several students aside to explain the situation.

He even gave an interview to the school paper discussing his three failed marriages, alcoholism recovery, and his fear of rejection by students.

“I’m not some freak,” Rivers told the school paper.

Initially, the school board had written a letter to parents informing them about the upcoming sex change, but explaining that Rivers was a tenured teacher with a good performance record, so there was nothing they could do.

After outrage from parents over Rivers’ private conversations with students about the sex change, the school fired him.

That wasn’t the end of the story, though. Rivers sued Center High School over his termination, which catapulted him into international news.

A glowing profile by the Los Angeles Times at the time declared that Warfield was “the teacher who helped low achievers turn it around” before he “became a woman.”

In November 1999, Rivers resigned in exchange for a $150,000 settlement.

Rivers’ life was not boring between those 15 minutes of fame and his triple murder conviction.

First, he became a transgender activist.

Then he became an enforcer for an all-female outlaw biker club called the Deviants, which was associated with Hell’s Angels, according to prosecutors in the murder case. He went by the nickname “Edge” and had tattoos indicating he was a “1 Percenter,” a reference to the supposedly small percentage of motorcycle clubs that are criminal.

One of the two women Rivers killed was a former member of the Deviants.

Rivers and the woman met at a Veterans Affairs Center, where Rivers, who is also a U.S. Navy veteran on top of his other identities, was seeking mental health care. They became friends, and the woman had a short stint as a Deviant before quitting the biker club.

The Deviants began threatening the woman, and eventually Rivers killed her, her partner, and her son.

Rivers will not be sentenced for another two months, but women advocates for female-only prisons do not plan to let his case go anytime soon.

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