Almost a year to the day, 20-year-old Erica Perez died and now her killer learns he is going to prison for 99 years. A Lubbock County jury recommended that sentence after four days of testimony and four hours of deliberations.
The shooting happened on March 4th of last year. 23-year-old Raymon Montelongo shot Erica, his common-law wife, after the two argued in the parking lot of the Cingular Call Center.
Montelongo pleaded guilty to murder on Monday, but asked a jury to decide his punishment. For both families, it was a week full of emotions. Erica's family addressed Montelongo where he cried the entire time. They told Montelongo they trusted him with their daughter and did not understand why he shot and killed her if he loved her.
But, in the end, the family says they forgive him for what he did. The Perez family also told NewsChannel 11 they believe justice was served. Erica's older brother, Jerome who is 23-years-old, says he's going to raise the 3-year-old son Erica shared with Montelongo.
Jerome says he hopes others can learn from his sister's death and how abusive relationships can lead to death. "She was 20-years-old. She had her entire life ahead of her. She had a life with her son," said Jerome.
Montelongo has 30 days to appeal the jury's punishment decision. However, Montelongo told the family he is going to accept the decision. Montelongo is eligible for parole after serving 30 years. He also has to pay a $10,000 fine.
Family Forgives the Man Who Killed Their Daughter