Aurea Vazquez Rijos cried on Friday, March 15, as a U.S. federal judge issued the sentence and ordered that she be transferred to a prison in Fort Worth, Texas. Judge Daniel Dominguez said he believed the jury’s guilty verdict over Vazquez’s statement that she is innocent.
Her defence attorneys plan to appeal in a case that sparked an international manhunt.
Vazquez had been charged with offering a man $3 million to kill real estate developer Adam Anhang. The 32-year-old was stabbed repeatedly and hit in the head with a cobblestone while walking with Vazquez through the historic part of Puerto Rico’s capital in September 2005, just 12 hours after prosecutors said Anhang had asked for a divorce.
During the sentencing, which was held at a federal courthouse near where Anhang was killed, his mother and younger sister read statements.
“It certainly helps to put it behind us, but you can’t forget your own child who dies before you do,” the victim’s father, Abraham Anhang, told The Associated Press. “If you lose a child, there’s never closure.”
As Abraham Anhang left the courtroom, Vazquez asked him, “Are you happy now?” to which he replied, “Shut up.”
Vazquez and Anhang had signed a prenup one day before getting married, with Anhang’s value estimated at more than US$24 million and Vazquez’s at nearly $62,300. Six months after Anhang’s death, Vazquez sued his parents seeking $1 million in damages and $8 million from his estate.
She then left for Florence, Italy, in 2008 and was arrested in June 2013 after flying from Italy to Spain. She and her 1-month-old baby were extradited to Puerto Rico two years later, leaving behind twin daughters she had with a man in Italy.
Also sentenced to life Friday was Vazquez’s sister, Marcia Vazquez Rijos and an ex-boyfriend of hers, Jose Ferrer Sosa. All three had been found guilty in October last year.
UPDATE: Juez sentencia a cadena perpetua a Marcia Vázquez Rijos, hermana de Áurea Vázquez Rijos, por su participación en el asesinato del empresario canadiense Adam Anhang en 2005. #PuertoRico pic.twitter.com/IJwIb2Xmev
— Robby Cortés🇵🇷 (@RobbyCortes) March 15, 2019
“Today’s sentence concludes a process, which required a lot of effort and perseverance. Justice was finally served for the victim and his family,” U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez said in a statement.
The main suspect, Alex Pabon Colon, pleaded guilty 10 years ago to killing Anhang and co-operated with prosecutors.
Among those who also testified during the trial last year was a man who sued for wrongful conviction after he was found guilty of killing Anhang and spent eight months in jail. He was released when Pabon was charged as federal authorities took over the case.
Montana Man Gets 2 Life Sentences
A 22-year-old Montana man who was convicted of killing his parents has been sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison without the possibility of parole.
Kaleb David Taylor was sentenced Friday, March 15, after he pleaded guilty last July to deliberate homicide in the deaths of David and Charla Taylor, the Independent Record reported.
— Independent Record (@helenaironline) July 25, 2018
Lewis and Clark County prosecutors had taken the death penalty off the table early in the process. Family members had requested prosecutors seek a life sentence without parole, county attorney Leo Gallagher said.
“He has been in the system his whole life,” Gallagher said. “He had loving, caring parents who did everything they could and were supportive of him even though he had harmed them and harmed their neighbors, did everything they could to try to salvage him.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.