A man convicted of fatally shooting a Tacoma prostitute in 2006 after having sex with her was sentenced Thursday afternoon to nearly 34 years in prison.
Brandon Lee Farmer, 30, was convicted of first-degree murder of Velma Tirado, 45, in Pierce County Superior Court. Judge Michael Schwartz gave Farmer the maximum sentence of 347 months and a firearm enhancement of 60 months, which prosecutors sought.
“Ms. Tirado was a particularly vulnerable victim at the time of her death,” Schwartz said before reading out the sentence, mentioning that she was homeless and addicted to drugs. “In this judge’s view, you preyed upon those vulnerabilities and you deserve the high end of the sentencing range.”
Farmer was charged in November 2014 after the man he was with Aug. 27, 2006, told California investigators that Farmer had shot Tirado in the head with a revolver and left her in an alley near South 19th Street and Fawcett Avenue.
When Tacoma detectives spoke with Farmer in West Virginia, he told them the other man had shot Tirado and that he was the driver. He also told police he went through Tirado’s purse and threw it out the passenger window.
He could not explain how he did that while driving during the interview or the trial.
The other man was not prosecuted in Tirado’s death.
Tirado’s daughters Gabriella and Vanessa Tirado read statements during the sentencing hearing.
“I ask for one more time with my mama, one more hug, one more kiss, but she is gone,” Gabriella Tirado said.
“You deserve to never go home to your family, just like we can’t go home to our mother,” she added.
Farmer was stoic during the hearing, but did give a short statement before his sentence was handed down.
“I do feel bad for the family,” Farmer said. “That was an awful thing. I’m going to lose my life for it. But I didn’t do it.”
Farmer declined to sign the sentencing document and has moved to appeal his conviction.