John Hillrich was killed right outside his California office in broad daylight by two men. The murder plot was orchestrated by his wife, Nikki Hillrich. If you want to know more about this 2011 murder case, then keep on reading.
On August 16, 2011, shortly before 2:00 p.m., John Edward Hillrich Jr., 39, was shot in the parking structure of his office in the 3400 block of Centre Lake Drive in Ontario, California.
A witness noted the license plate number of a pickup truck that was on the scene and used as a getaway vehicle. This helped investigators arrest the three people responsible for John’s death within a few hours of the slaying.
The authorities found out that there were two men in the truck, David Olvera and Emilio Pelayo Saldana, both parolees.
Upon further investigation, they found that the two men were linked to John’s wife, Amy Nicole (Nikki) Hillrich.
This murder case is the subject of a sixth-season episode of the show Fatal Vows on Investigation Discovery.
Nikki and John Hillrich’s Turbulent History
Nikki and John Hillrich were married and had two kids together, Haley and Jake. By the late 2000s, Nikki and John were living apart, but they were still married and shared custody of the kids.
Nikki, Olvera, and Saldana worked at the Braswell care facility where Nikki was employed as a nurse.
In 2011, Nikki and Olvera started a sexual relationship.
John was not happy about Nikki’s relationship with Olvera, who had a criminal record. He was also not happy that Nikki had introduced Olvera to their kids. In June 2011, John and Nikki agreed that she wouldn’t allow Olvera to be near the kids.
However, at the same time, Nikki complained to her best friend at Braswell, Petra Baca, that she was sick of John. In fact, Nikki told Baca several times that she wanted John murdered.
Baca told all this to her boyfriend, Jason Mayer, who set up a trap for Nikki by offering to murder John for $10,000. Baca informed Mayer that Nikki had told her Olvera and Saldana would handle the murder.
On August 12, 2011, Nikki broke her agreement with John by letting Olvera and Saldana visit her and the kids at home. Nikki asked her daughter to lie to her father about it, but the girl told John about the visitors anyway.
John was very upset with Nikki and he confronted her about the visit on August 14. This argument appeared to be the final straw for Nikki.
On August 14 and 15, she exchanged several texts with Olvera and Saldana. Most of the messages suggested some kind of plot against John Hillrich.
John Hillrich Murdered on August 16, 2011
On August 15, Jason Mayer went to the authorities and told them that Nikki was planning to have John murdered. He gave the names of Nikki, Olvera, and Saldana to a deputy sheriff.
On August 16, from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., Nikki exchanged more texts with Olvera and Saldana. Later that morning, John messaged Nikki to remind her that he and the kids were meeting a counselor at 3:00 p.m.
A little after 11:00 a.m. on the same day, Kristen Morales, who worked at Braswell and had had sexual relations with Olvera in the past, was at his house. She saw a semi-automatic handgun on a table.
Later on, Olvera asked Morales if he could borrow her truck, a Ford F-250, at 1:00 p.m. Morales said yes and left the keys for him in her truck. She didn’t get her truck back until after 3:00 p.m. Olvera asked her to not tell anyone about it.
Just before 2:00 p.m., John, who was leaving his office to pick up his kids, was shot in the Centre Lake parking garage.
Cameras in the garage recorded footage of a man, believed to be Saldana, exiting the F-250 truck and approaching John’s BMW. The surveillance video then showed Saldana fleeing back to the truck, which left the parking structure at 1:58 p.m.
During the investigation, Morales said the man in the video was Saldana because of his clothes, way of walking, and posture.
A number of witnesses heard gunshots and saw the Ford truck leaving the scene immediately after the shooting. One witness, who worked on the second floor of the office building, noticed that the two men in the truck were Latino.
John Hillrich died of multiple gunshot wounds. He was shot twice in his upper left arm, once in the left side of his head, and once in his back.
It was noted that John had a lot of financial assets that Nikki would benefit from upon his death.
Olvera and Saldana’s Arrest
Olvera and Saldana were arrested on the same day of John’s murder at a gas station. According to authorities, both of them seemed to be planning an escape as Olvera’s car had a suitcase and duffel bag full of clothes.
They also found several items that proved the men knew Nikki. These included an envelope addressed to Nikki in Olvera’s car and several pieces of Nikki’s mail at Olvera’s house.
Officers also found many incriminating post-it notes in Nikki’s purse. In one of the notes, a “Dear John” letter, Nikki apologized to her estranged husband and explained why he had to be killed.
The note said: “John, I’m sorry it had to come to this. You pushed me to the limit. You just wouldn’t mind your own business. You’re not a man. I don’t want our children to grow up to be like you. I am doing what I sincerely feel is best for the kids and I. I can’t reason with you. You’re a crazy bastard. You can’t even see it. Rest in peace. I will take good care of them. You will be in a better place anyway. Love Nikki.”
During her trial, Nikki denied any involvement in the murder and said she didn’t conspire with anybody to kill John.
Trio Sentenced to Prison
In 2015, after four years of questioning and investigation, Nikki confessed that John Hillrich had concerns over her new relationship with Olvera. She said he was making her life difficult and that’s why she had asked Olvera and Saldana kill John.
On May 14, 2015, a jury convicted Nikki, then 42, of murder.
On May 29, 2015, a separate jury found Nikki, Olvera, then 28, and Saldana, then 25, guilty of John’s murder.
They were sentenced on July 16, 2015 in San Bernardino County Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga.
Nikki was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison. Olvera and Saldana were sentenced to 51 years to life in prison.
John Hillrich’s Family Left to Mourn
John Hillrich’s parents, John and Patricia Hillrich, were heartbroken over the death of their son.
John is survived by his kids, Jake and Haley, as well as his sisters Tara Hillrich, Tatum Norman, and Megan Gilfillan. According to his obituary, he was very close to his kids and they were “the lights of his life.”