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A father and son who brutally murdered and mutilated the body of a Florida mother more than two years ago were sentenced to life in prison this week.
The two men were handed life sentences on Thursday. They’d originally been charged with second-degree murder, tampering with evidence and abuse of a human body. The father and son were found guilty on all counts in April, according to court filings.
Otero-Rivera and Rivera were also sentenced to an additional 20 years for dismembering a human body and for evidence tampering.
In 2019, Nicole Montalvo’s mutilated and burned remains were found on the Florida property she shared with her husband, Otero-Rivera. She was reported missing by family members after not picking up her son from school.
Otero-Rivera and Rivera plotted to murder Montalvo to gain custody over the couple’s young son, according to prosecutors.
“I cannot ignore the brutality of your efforts to cover up that crime or the pain it brought the family of Nicole Montalvo,” Judge Keith Carsons said, WESH reported.
Prosecutors had previously called for a life sentence for both men without the possibility of parole.
“If this crime doesn’t deserve a life sentence, what does?” prosecutor Ryan Williams stated in court.
Christopher Otero-Rivera was also ordered to pay $4,180 to a victim compensation fund, according to a sentencing order obtained by Oxygen.com.
“When the court makes sure criminals are punished for their crimes, it keeps family members from taking matters into their own hands,” Williams added.
During the trial, Montalvo’s family members delivered searing victim impact statements.
"It physically pains me to say, 'my sister was murdered by her estranged husband and father,' I still have a hard time saying it," Christina Montalvo told the court, WESH reported. "It's hard to find the right words to express to you what the past year and a half has felt like. It's an intense and deep pain that comes and goes... even to this day. Sometimes it feels like the grieving process is never ending, especially when it's an unexpected and traumatizing loss of your only sister. When people ask me what happened to Nicole, I've always said she passed away from an act of domestic violence."
Nicole's relatives, who described her relationship with her former husband as abusive, recounted how they had begged her to leave Otero-Rivera.
"The crimes that occurred against my twin sister did not occur in isolation," Edward Montalvo also said.
He said his sister was “butchered and discarded like she never mattered."
Nicole Mantalvo’s son was 9 at the time of her death.
“We promised her we’d get justice for her and we’d raise Elijah in a safe healthy and happy environment,” Steven Montalvo also said. “He’s been such an incredible kid these last 18 months, our parents have done an amazing job.”
Attorneys for Otero-Rivera and Rivera plan to appeal the sentence.
Wanda Nereida Rivera was also charged with evidence tampering and giving false statements in Montalvo’s slaying, court filings show.
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