Updated 06/20/2012 02:30 PM
Carlos Cardenas Accepts Plea Deal
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Now-admitted murderer Carlos Cardenas took a plea deal Wednesday morning, admitting to the judge in Orleans County Court that he had sex with and then killed his 15-year-old sister-in-law.
Cardenas was supposed to appear for his own trial on murder and rape charges, but attorneys tell YNN discussions have been going on for weeks now. Finally, Wednesday morning, Judge James Punch ultimately approved this plea deal.
By pleading guilty to second-degree murder today, Cardenas still faces, no matter what, up to life in prison. He could be sentenced anywhere from 15 years to life up to 25 to life, behind bars for his crime.
In court, it was tough to hear Cardenas admitting to the judge through a Spanish interpreter, that he had sex with 15-year-old Katherine Sanchez, his wife's younger sister.
Then he said: "I put my hands around her neck, because she was screaming."
Cardenas says eventually he choked Katherine Sanchez to death.
This has been an emotional ordeal since Katherine's death in early 2011. Both attorneys today told us that this was a tough case to work on.
"It’s a sad case. A 15-year-old girl died. There’s no two ways about that. A 22-year-old young man who’s never been in trouble before is going to prison for a very long time,” said Mary Beth Feindt, defense attorney.
“When you have a young victim like this, that’s always hard. It’s hard to look at those photographs. Honestly the hardest picture to look at is her school portrait, because she was a beautiful girl, and by everything I hear, just a lovely young person. And that’s very hard," Feindt said.
“I had an opportunity to speak to the family both obviously before the plea and after the plea. They’re very relieved, they’re very thankful that there’s closure in this matter, that there’s no question over what caused the death of Katherine,” said Joseph Cardone, Orleans County District Attorney.
Both the families of the victim, Katherine Sanchez, and Carlos Cardenas own blood relatives were in court today. Neither family wished to comment on what happened here.
Potential jurors streamed in and out of this courthouse here, being told there is no trial here.
Cardenas faces up to life in prison, and sentencing will be right back here on August 22nd.