LANCASTER –A man who killed his girlfriend with a sword in front of her four children in Lancaster was sentenced Tuesday to 36 years to life in state prison.
Jesus “Chuey” Canales, 35, was convicted March 10 of first-degree murder for the July 12, 2008, stabbing death of Lucy Preciado. Jurors also convicted him of four counts of child abuse involving the children, who were between 7 months old and 9 years old at the time.
The children — three of whom the couple had together — were left unattended at the scene with their 26-year-old dying mother, who was struck by the sword at least three times, according to Deputy District Attorney Seth Carmack.
Preciado’s then 9-year-old daughter called 911 to plead for help, telling a 911 operator that she didn’t want her mom to die. [Listen to the call here.]
Following the murder, Canales fled the United States and was captured five years later in Mexico after an episode of the television show America’s Most Wanted featured the story.
He was detained in November 2013 by Mexican authorities, handed over to the U.S. Marshals Service and flown back to Los Angeles County.
Preciado’s family members and supporters were inside the courtroom Tuesday during the emotional sentencing.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Eric Harmon handed down the sentence after hearing a victim impact statement from Preciado’s oldest daughter, now 15 years old.
“You have taken my mom from me but you will never be able to take away the beautiful memories she gave to me,” the girl told Canales.
Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Canales’ defense attorney C. Edward Mack said his client was remorseful.
“He’s very, very sorry that this ever occurred,” Mack said. “He did something in the heat of passion when he was high… It’s just a difficult situation for everybody all the way around.”
[City News Service contributed to this report.]
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