Family of 11-Year-Old Rape and Murder Victim Victoria Sandoval Say "Justice Is Served"

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Normal Family of 11-Year-Old Rape and Murder Victim Victoria Sandoval Say "Justice Is Served"

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:10 am


A man in Albuquerque will spend nearly 60 years in prison for raping and killing an 11-year-old girl.

Victoria Sandoval's family already went through one trial and sentencing before investigators learned they had the wrong man.

The family said now they can finally move on from this horrible chapter in their lives.

"That's what I'm looking forward to, healing. Healing so I can go on for my granddaughters and we finally, finally got justice," said Victoria's grandmother, Clara Tena.

It's been six years since 11-year-old Victoria Sandoval was raped and murdered in her bedroom.

Her family has had to sit through two trials.

"It was like burying my granddaughter over and over and over," Tena said.

At the time, police said Robert Gonzales, who is mentally disabled, confessed to the crime and claimed Victoria was his girlfriend. That is a fact her family disputes.

Gonzales later pleaded not guilty in court. He was released from jail three years later and successfully sued the City, settling for nearly $1.4 million, citing a false confession.

Another man, Israel Diaz was picked up on a burglary charge around the same time. Under Katies Law, his DNA sample was taken. It turned out to be a match for the suspect in Victoria Sandoval's rape and murder.

"I'm sorry for what happened, it wasn't supposed to go the way it did," Diaz told Judge Neil Candelaria.

Diaz claims he wasn't alone. Officials said his story has changed several times.

"God knows I didn't kill her," Diaz said in court.

Judge Candelaria called the crime horrific and sentenced Diaz to 59 years in prison. For Victoria's grandmother, she said justice is served.

"I do not want him out on the streets, there's too many children out there," she said.

Diaz is an illegal immigrant. Judge Candelaria said he is asking Immigration and Customs Enforcement to allow Diaz to serve his full sentence here, before being deported.

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