Across from Jennifer Slaton's yard is the blue bench where a young woman used to smoke the day's first cigarette and the black Triumph motorcycle that was a young man's pride and joy.
From the front window of her home in the Arden Fair area, she'd often see the young couple getting, as she put it, "lovey lovey" and "kissy kissy."
Then, when the young woman moved out in October and the young man told her they had just broken up, Slaton, 31, put it aside as just another case of young hearts falling out of love.
Which is why her blood ran cold when she heard that 28-year-old Ruben Rivera Jr. was suspected of waiting for 26-year-old Erika Barrios to show up for work on Saturday morning just to gun her down without even saying a word.
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Rivera was arrested at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Traveler's Inn in Manteca after evading arrest for nearly 29 hours following the shooting death of his former girlfriend, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.
On Saturday, police allege Rivera waited in the parking lot for Barrios to report for her 8 a.m. shift at the Verizon Wireless call center in Rancho Cordova.
Based on witness reports, a gunman walked up to Barrios as she exited her car and shot her several times with a handgun, sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran said.
Also taken into custody on Sunday were Rivera's parents, Ruben Gabriel Rivera, 56, and Laura Elena Rivera, 52, for allegedly helping Rivera escape and then lying to police.
"We think they met with Ruben after the crime and gave him a ride ... and aided in his escape from the area," Curran said.
Curran said both later admitted to their involvement after being taken into custody early Sunday morning. Both are being held without bail at the Sacramento County jail on felony accessory charges, records indicate.
The couple had lived with Rivera's parents for about six months, Slaton said. Rivera still lived at the home at the time of the alleged crime.
Curran said information that led to Rivera's capture came from "the course of the investigation" and not from his parents.
Barrios' family, contacted at their Pocket-area home, did not wish to comment. A family friend said they were too distraught to speak.
Curran said that Rivera had a clean record with local law enforcement and that neither the Sheriff's nor the Sacramento Police departments ever received any complaints of domestic violence from the couple.
After interviewing Barrios' co-workers, however, Curran said the relationship may have been violent and that she may have been physically abused.
That news was shocking to Slaton, who moved in next door to Rivera three years ago after leaving what she described as a physically abusive relationship.
"Ruben came out and introduced himself (when I moved in) and I explained my last relationship," Slaton said. "He said, 'That guy sucks and that no man should ever hit his woman.'"
Slaton said Rivera was especially protective of her and her children, always coming out to investigate whenever a strange car was parked on the block.
Rivera also developed a relationship with her children and some of the neighborhood kids, getting in on pickup football games and playing basketball when the weather was nice.
Rivera was even planning to set up a basketball league for the kids in the neighborhood, Slaton said.
Slaton said she and her fiance were friends with Rivera, and sometimes they'd all share beers on Slaton's front porch.
Slaton said she didn't have much contact with Rivera's parents, partly because Rivera's mother spoke mostly Spanish.
"They were good people, too," she said.
As she spoke, she pointed out Rivera's black Triumph parked on the front lawn and covered in blankets.
"He loved his motorcycle and on days that were nice, he'd ride it around the block," she said.
Slaton, who plans to marry next month, remembered telling Rivera that she'd love to ride to her wedding on the back of a motorcycle.
"He said, 'You give me the time and place,'" Slaton said.
She paused for a moment and thought about it.
"I can't believe it," she said. "This is too close to home."