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Man sentenced to 5 life terms in killings of wife, daughters

May 25, 2021 GMT

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man who pleaded no contest in the 2016 killings of his wife and their four daughters ages 3-14 faces five consecutive life sentences.

Juan David Villegas-Hernandez’s pleas to five counts of first-degree murder ended his trial on May 13 and he was sentenced May 19 by state District Judge Dustin K. Hunter.

“Horror is what occurred to this family,” Hunter said during the sentencing in the Chaves County courthouse in Roswell.

While prosecutors said Villegas-Hernandez shot Cynthia Villegas and their daughters after he learned that his wife planned to divorce him, Villegas-Hernandez maintained his innocence and said another person was responsible for the killings,

Prosecutors said Villegas-Hernandez shot the victims at close range at their home before fleeing to Mexico. He was apprehended by Mexican authorities and later extradited.

Consecutive life sentences were the only just outcome, said Scot Key, district attorney for New Mexico’s 12th Judicial District.