After four hours of deliberation, a Chesterfield County jury convicted Rivers, 33, of homicide by child abuse stemming from the Aug. 12, 2005, death of his 4-month-old foster son.
"All I did was work and try to provide for my family. This makes me look like a bad person and I'm not a bad person," Rivers said after being handcuffed. "I honest to God didn't hurt my child and the only thing I was doing was doing right by him and my family."
Circuit Court Judge Paul Burch handed down a sentence of imprisonment for natural life.
"A factor that gives me the most trouble is that when the DSS investigation launched, you fully well knew not to be responsible to raise any more children. You played that game and allowed a child come into your house. The court can't allow that to happen again," Judge Burch said.
With a prior record of child abuse logged with Department of Social Services, Rivers should have never been allowed to take in a foster child, said Suzanne Mays, a state prosecutor specializing in child abuse cases.
In 1997, DSS found Rivers responsible for the hospitalization of a 2-year-old son of a former girlfriend who sustained a severe concussion and a severed skull fracture.
However, a data entry error in the DSS computer system and Rivers' omission to social workers of prior history with the agency allowed him to take in an in-law's infant son.
Rivers' date of birth was not keyed in correctly, Mays said.
"What we have here is a horrible situation that has robbed a child of life, quite frankly robbed society of what that child may have become," Assistant Solicitor Adam Foard said.
Rivers has ten days to file an appeal.
Chesterfield County Sheriff's Office charged Rivers with homicide by child abuse when autopsy results showing bruising and cuts sustained prior to the child's death along with ribs mending from prior injury.
Rivers, who weighed over 300 pounds in 2005, told law enforcement he fell asleep with the infant cradled between his right arm and chest and when he awoke the child was not breathing.
Initially, Rivers told investigators the baby's crying woke him up and he placed him in a playpen and went outside to do yard work and his wife found the child not breathing.
He later changed his statement to law enforcement confessing to resuscitating the baby and leaving him to mow the lawn.
Rivers' wife found the baby unresponsive and called 911 under Rivers' orders.
"I tried my hardest to do CPR," a video taped Rivers told law enforcement in 2005. "The color had started coming back and he started breathing. I laid him down in the play pin and went outside to clean up the yard."
Law enforcement took the video statement immediately after Rivers' polygraph results "showed deception" and followed up with a second written statement echoing what was recorded.
Rivers, who had been out on bond for five years, violated its terms failing to pay and returning to Chesterfield County.
County deputies took Rivers into custody on a bench warrant Jan. 18 hiding in a bedroom inside a home where law enforcement took a woman to fetch her belongings.
A background check led to Rivers being taken into custody.