Salvador Orozco-Sanchez, in Pierce County Superior Court on Friday to be sentenced for killing his 2-year-old daughter, had a lot to say.
Reading from sheets of notebook paper and wiping at tears, he complained about his wife’s treatment of him and that no one helped him when he needed it most. He grew up poor, he said, and had to teach himself how to make a living and get along in the world.
He was about 10 minutes into his monologue when his sister-in-law, Bonita Todd, had had enough.
“Why’d you kill your baby?” Todd shouted from her seat in the courtroom of Judge Brian Tollefson.
Though Orozco-Sanchez spoke for another 15 minutes, he never explained why he strangled Daveena Sanchez on Feb. 12, 2014. Authorities and the girl’s maternal relatives concluded he was distraught because his wife was leaving him.
A suicide note ranting about his wife's “behavior” and a threat to kill himself “and take my daughter with me” was found in his apartment the day Daveena was killed.
Tollefson ultimately sentenced the 27-year-old man to 18 years, four months in prison, which was the high end of the sentencing range for second-degree murder, the charge Orozco-Sanchez pleaded guilty to last month.
The sentence wasn’t nearly long enough for Todd or others who spoke on behalf of Daveena.
“He’s broken so many hearts, and he’s getting no punishment for it,” Todd said.
Lloyd Hoplight, one of Daveena’s grandfathers, said he could not comprehend what Orozco-Sanchez had done.
“I’m divorced, too, but I didn’t kill my children,” Hoplight said. “And I think any amount of time he spends behind bars is not enough.”
Orozco-Sanchez killed the girl during a scheduled visitation at his apartment in the Tacoma area. He often watched Daveena while her mother went to work.
Orozco-Sanchez called 911 before wrapping a dog leash around his neck in what sheriff’s deputies concluded was a suicide attempt. They unfastened the ligature when they arrived at the apartment.
Defense attorney Mark Quigley told Tollefson that Orozco-Sanchez was remorseful, his crime “unexplainable.” Quigley said he supported the high-end sentence.
Orozco-Sanchez’s sister, Olga Sanchez, then addressed the court.
Sanchez said her brother had been an attentive and loving father.
“This was a monumental tragedy for all of us,” she said. “We did not just lose one, we lost two family in the blink of an eye.”
Orozco-Sanchez then began his remarks.
He described his daughter as the light of his life and his best friend. He related stories of her toddling behind him, hoping to “help” him with home improvement projects or other chores.
He talked about calling friends and relatives to proudly tell them about her first steps and first words.
“She was my world,” Orozco-Sanchez said.
He said he’s been suicidal since he killed his daughter and suffers greatly because of her loss.
“I never meant to do any of this,” Orozco-Sanchez said. “In the end, I’m not going to be with my daughter until I die. Until then, I’m stuck here, suffering.”
Tollefson then handed down the sentence, and corrections officers escorted Orozco-Sanchez off to jail, passing before a gallery filled with teary-eyed people who were suffering badly, too.