See the update on Page 2 on what the judge, defendant and deceased woman's mother and sisters said in court today.
ORIGINAL POST, NOV. 15, 1:52 P.M.: An Anaheim man, who killed his estranged wife in an Irvine cul de sac after she stopped there for a lunch break from her nearby preschool teaching job, was sentenced today to 50 years to life in state prison.
A jury in June found John Rand Agosta guilty of first-degree murder.
Depressed about the break-up of his marriage six months earlier, Agosta had posted angry messages on Facebook about wanting to buy a gun and saying of his 28-year-old wife Alejandra Hernandez, “If she died I would laugh.”
He followed her car to the Via Siena neighborhood where she liked to enjoy quiet lunches alone. A neighbor heard her say, “Get away from me” before Agosta repeatedly fired shots at her.
He then got into his car to drive off, but the engine would not start. So he got out, walked over to Hernandez's body, turned her over and kicked her once before fleeing on foot. She died at the scene.
He left behind his car, registered to him, with his passport, clothing, toiletries and the gun inside.
Agosta later called a friend who did not know about the murder for a ride. He was arrested later that afternoon at the friend's South County home.
UPDATE, NOV. 15, 2:41 P.M.: City News Service's Paul Anderson, who was in court for today's sentencing, included the following in his story:
As Orange County Superior Court Judge W. Michael Hayes handed down John Rand Agosta's punishment, he told the 37-year-old defendant that taking the life of Alejandra Hernandez on June 16, 2011, was “totally useless, unnecessary and incomprehensible.”
Agosta told the judge, “For the record, I'd just like to say please read Matthew 6:14-15 and Psalm 51, 1-19.”
The New Testament verses say, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Psalm 51 is about the prophet Nathan visiting David after he committed adultery with Bathsheba.
The 28-year-old victim's mother said her daughter “was a special gift sent from God to cherish and to love.”
Maria Ortiz added, “One of the hardest things for me is knowing the pain and fear that Alejandra must have suffered at the time of the murder; the horror and betrayal she must have felt when she realized someone she knew and feared was actually killing her; the helplessness of knowing she was going to die. Alejandra did not deserve this. It is unbearable to grasp.”
To her son-in-law, Ortiz said, “John, we welcomed you and your sons into our family and into our homes, but because of your selfish, manipulative and evil ways you not only took away a beautiful and amazing part of our family, but you also robbed your own children of their happiness forever.”
Veronica DeLeon asked the judge to impose the maximum punishment on her sister's killer.
“I ask you, I beg you, to please sentence this selfish coward to the maximum sentence the law allows,” DeLeon said. “The defendant stated in emails shown in the trial that he would laugh if Alejandra died. Well, now it's our turn to laugh and to smile knowing that justice and, as Alejandra would say, peace, has finally been served.”
Another sister, Erica DeLeon, said she had a falling out with her sibling over Agosta. When they were on a road trip together without her brother-in-law, he sent angry text messages to Hernandez, including one that said he wished the sisters would get into a fatal crash, she said.
After her sister's marriage, the two were reunited at a Christmas gathering, Erica DeLeon said. She recalled that in January 2011, when her sister told her she was going to end her marriage to Agosta, that she “high- fived” her best friend when her sibling left the room.