Adrian Granados covered his face with his sweatshirt Tuesday as a defense attorney asked a judge to sentence his father, Hector Granados, to 20 to 30 years in prison for stabbing his mother to death.
A few minutes later, the tearful 15-year-old boy told the judge: “I miss everything about my mom.”
Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Sharon V. Burrell called the crime a domestic violence victim’s “worst nightmare,” as she sentenced Hector Granados to life in prison with all but 40 years suspended and five years of probation.
“I did it without thinking,” Granados told her, before speaking to his children. “Lisa and Adrian, I want you to forgive me.”
“Address me!” Burrell said before ordering the maximum sentence and barring Granados from contacting his son or daughter after his release.
In November, Granados, 45, of the 8700 block of Barron Street in Silver Spring, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his 47-year-old wife, Ana Ayala, who had separated from him.
It was the culmination of a pattern of harassment and threats, according to charging documents and other statements used to aid in Granados’ sentencing.
Ayala had told Granados last year she wanted to leave him because of his alcohol abuse, according to a sentencing memorandum.
In court Tuesday, Wilfredo Granados testified that before his brother started drinking more than 20 years ago, he was “well, normal, tranquil.”
“The vice, I would tell him, was going to destroy him,” Wilfredo Granados said of his brother’s drinking.
Hector Granados’ attorneys, William Brennan and Joseph Malouf, asked for Granados to receive 20 to 30 years of prison for his crime, saying the guidelines “reflected appropriately the serious nature of the crime,” and Granados had no prior record.
Granados, Brennan said, suffered from depression and alcohol abuse. “And the combination of the two ... caused him to fly into a rage and kill the mother of his children and the woman he loved,” Brennan said, adding that Granados was filled with a “morbid jealousy.”
Burrell instead imposed the higher sentence of life, with Granados serving 40 years, as requested by Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorneys Ryan Wechsler and Margaret Schweitzer.
“[Granados] went to her apartment on a Saturday morning with a knife,” Burrell said. “He knew what he was going to do.”
Granados began to stalk Ayala after she moved out, taking the couple’s two children with her, according to prosecution documents.
Three or four weeks before the stabbing, Granados visited his wife’s apartment, demanding to be let in. When she refused, he told her he would be waiting and watching her, according to charging documents.
The next morning, he ambushed her outside her apartment, chased her and assaulted her as she waited for the bus. Adrian tackled his father and pulled him off his mother, according to the documents.
Hector Granados left but not before warning her, “Wait until Adrian is not around.”
Another time, Hector Granados tried to force her to kiss him as she walked her son to school, according to the documents.
Ayala also told a friend Granados threatened to kill her if he ever found her with another man, according to a charging document. It also said Granados became jealous, believing his wife had started a relationship with another man.
About 8 a.m. May 5, Ayala was getting into a friend’s truck to go to the grocery store. Granados came to the window of the truck and told her to get out.
When she refused, according to the sentencing memo, he reached through the window and took the bags on her lap.
According to the document, Granados told investigators he saw Ayala while walking to the beer store. He hid, then confronted her, accusing her of cheating on him. She denied it, claiming the man was just a friend. He did not have money on him at the time, according to the sentencing memo, contradicting his statement about going to go buy beer.
Granados told investigators when he confronted her, she told him, “I don’t love you anymore.” He then stabbed her with a knife that he told police he used while working on drywall, according to the documents.
Granados stabbed her in her torso, thigh, arm and hand, then fled. Her femoral artery was struck, and her colon was perforated.
Accompanied by a cousin, Granados turned himself into police shortly after noon.
Ayala was pronounced dead an hour later at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, leaving her family stricken.
Ayala’s sister Alma Aguinada told Burrell that learning of her sister’s death “was the most difficult day of my life.”
“I felt such a grave pain,” she said in court Tuesday, holding a photo of her sister as she spoke before the judge. She said at times, her sister would call her three times a day to tell of her of her fear of Granados.
Aguinada’s daughter, also named Alma, asked Burrell not to be lenient to her uncle. “She waited so many years to see if this man would change. And he never changed. Why should we feel sympathy for this man?” she said.
When it was his turn to speak, Adrian told Burrell, “I wish it was just me and her and my sister living far away.”
Standing before the judge in a gray sweatshirt, khakis, and sneakers, struggling to speak, Adrian said, “When I have kids I’m going to give them everything, love them forever.”
His younger sister, Lisa, told the judge, “I didn’t believe [it] when she passed away ... I thought that it was a nightmare.”