Headline — 21 June 2013 — by Rochelle Gillett
Peter King Contreras, 44, sentenced to 18 years in prison

He had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and in his mitigation, told the court that he was sorry for killing his mother-in-law

Peter King Contreras, 44, pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge on Tuesday, June 11, 2013, when his trial was scheduled to start.

According to the facts which were read to the court, at about noon on December 13, 2010, Contreras was giving his mother-in-law, Argentina Garcia, 50, a ride in his vehicle to the junction of the Philip Goldson International Airport road and the now Philip Goldson Highway, in order for her to catch a bus.

During the ride, Contreras and Garcia got into an argument in the course of which Garcia told him “Why would Lesley (my daughter) want a loser like you?” This statement enraged Contreras, who then punched Garcia twice in her face, and it was then that Garcia attempted to get out of the vehicle.

But Contreras restrained her from getting out with a piece of rope, which he then used to choke her to death. Contreras put Garcia’s body into the trunk of his vehicle and drove around with it in there for the remainder of the day, then left it there for the entire night and into the early hours of the morning.

It was not until 3:00 the following morning, when Contreras was attempting to go and dispose of the body that he was stopped and when police searched the vehicle, they found Garcia’s body in the trunk. When police questioned Contreras about the body and why it was inside his trunk, he told them that he had knocked down the woman by accident.

Further questioning resulted in Contreras telling the police that the woman was his mother-in-law and that he had actually strangled her to death.

Yesterday, Contreras addressed the court with a tearful mitigation in which he said that he was truly sorry for what he had done.

“I am truly sorry for what I’ve taken from them. If I could return what I’ve taken, I would. All I can say is that I am sorry… truly, truly sorry! I regret all the pain I’ve caused. I want them to know that I will spend the rest of my life trying to make up for what I’ve done…This woman was not a stranger to me; she was like my family … I know God has forgiven me and he wants me to forgive myself but I can’t. (Sobs) It’s hard to live with this guilt … it makes me not want to get up in the morning ‘cause I don’t really see why I deserve to live,” Contreras said.

Today, Justice Adolph Lucas, Sr., sentenced Contreras to 18 years in prison, after telling the court, “When death happens and someone is charged, the relatives would want to put them in jail and throw away the keys.”

As the judge was about to start this address to the court, Garcia’s daughter got up and asked to speak. Justice Lucas then informed her that the time she had to speak had already passed, and that there is a process that must be followed in order to do so.

Garcia’s daughter was not pleased with what the judge had to say and her emotions got the better of her, as she told him, “This man (Contreras) killed my mother and you all charged him with manslaughter.”

She was then warned to take a seat, but instead, she continued with her tirade after which the judge had to order her removal from the court.

But that incensed her even more and she grabbed her bag and told the judge, “Nobody noh have to take me outta this freaking place, I cud go outside myself. But unuh conscience wah get to unuh.” With that, she stormed outside the court.

After addressing the court and announcing the sentence, the judge informed Contreras that he would deduct the two and half years he had spent on remand for the crime, which leaves him with a sentence of 15 years and 6 months, effective today.

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