Transgender Triple Murderer Sent To Women’s Prison

Dana Rivers is behind bars with women in California.
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.

An infamous triple murderer who claims he is a woman landed in a California state women’s prison this month.

Dana Rivers, previously David Warfield, 68, 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, California, 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 the suspect 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.

Rivers was initially housed at Santa Rita Jail about 40 minutes north of San Jose.

On June 14, Rivers was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Two days later, Rivers was transferred to the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla.

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, according to a January report from the Washington Free Beacon. Female inmates who said they were sexually assaulted by their trans-identifying male fellow prisoners have sued the California prison system.


Women activists who oppose trans-identifying men in women’s prisons were outraged.

Activist Kara Dansky, who has been protesting Rivers’ potential transfer to a women’s prison for months, said she believes Rivers’ murders were a “hate crime” against the female victims, who were a married lesbian couple.

“There was something truly vile about the way this was carried out and his obvious hatred of her. My feeling from knowledge of the case is that he killed her because he couldn’t be her and he shouldn’t be in prison with other women,” Dansky said, according to the New York Post.

Amie Ichikawa, an activist who herself served five years in the same prison as Rivers for a drug deal gone wrong, agreed that Rivers committed a hate crime and said female inmates are scared of trans-identifying men.

“They get very anxious when a [trans-identifying man] gets processed in,” Ichikawa said. “Even when they’re post-op, if they get mad they go right back to angry man mode.”

Rivers has been in the news since the 1990s.

In 1999, back when he was David Warfield, Rivers was fired from his teaching 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 was thought by many to have become an enforcer for an all-female biker club called the Deviants, which was associated with the infamous gang Hell’s Angels, according to prosecutors in the murder case. Rivers 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, 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.

Now that Rivers has ended up behind bars alongside women, the women activists advocating for female-only prisons are continuing to fight the decision.

“It’s not over. We will never stop fighting,” Dansky tweeted.

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