VINELAND, N.J. (AP) – A New Jersey man convicted of strangling his estranged wife and suffocating her infant daughter has been sentenced to two consecutive life terms in a maximum security prison without possibility of parole. Ricardo Carrillo-Santiago, 37, was also sentenced Friday in Cumberland County to another 10 years on a conviction of unlawful disposal of human remains, with Judge Robert Malestein calling the case one of the most “shocking, gruesome, and troublesome” he had seen
Jurors in January convicted the Millville resident of killing 34-year-old Neidy Ramirez and three-month old Genesis at her Vineland apartment in 2015 and disposing of their bodies at a game preserve. He expressed remorse through an interpreter before sentencing.
“I just want to ask for forgiveness for everything that I have done,” Carrillo-Santiago said. “I regret what I did. And I ask for everybody’s forgiveness, especially my children. I’m sorry.”
Family members reported Ramirez – who had three children, including one fathered by the defendant – missing in December 2015 after she didn’t show up for work. Her sport utility vehicle was found abandoned on Route 55, and prosecutors alleged that the defendant left it there to divert suspicion from himself.
Carrillo-Santiago’s attorney portrayed him as a devoted spouse pushed into a “red fog of humiliation, shame and rage” by taunts Ramirez made about his manhood. The judge, however, said the defendant was angry that his estranged wife was involved with another man and had a child with that person.
“His anger fueled his desire for revenge,” Malestein said. “And although the defendant indicates that it was an accident, the evidence before the jury suggest otherwise.”
At the Fairfield Township game preserve, Ramirez was found buried in a shallow grave under a pile of leaves and her daughter was found a hundred yards away in a trash bag, authorities said.
“As the prosecutor noted in her closing arguments, he separated them in life and he was going to make sure that they were separated in death by not burying them next to each other,” Malestein said.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press.