RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island man has been sentenced after pleading guilty to killing his mother.
Juan Gonzalez, 69, of Brentwood, was sentenced to six months time served and five years’ probation in Suffolk County court in Riverhead Tuesday after admitting that he smothered his elderly mother, Teresa Astete, last June.
After Gonzalez was diagnosed with skin cancer last summer he decided to kill himself but told police he didn’t want to leave his 98-year-old bed-ridden mother, whom he had taken care of for 20 years, alone.
1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports
Police said Gonzalez suffocated his mother by putting a plastic bag over her head and then attempted suicide by slashing his wrists and swallowing pills.
“He had no one else to take care of her,” District Attorney Thomas Spota said. “He clothed her, bathed her, fed her. Because of her undocumented status, he felt he could not turn her over to any governmental authority.”
At his sentencing, Gonzalez thanked the judge for being released.
“He’s extremely remorseful, this is a horrible incident,” attorney Michael Brown said. “He lost his mother as a result of this and his medical condition now is near fatal.”
Spota agreed with the sentence calling it a “rare” and “unusual” case.
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports
“We don’t condone taking anybody’s life but as far as the sentence is concerned we think it’s an appropriate sentence,” Spota said. “This is a very appropriate case for justice but in a very strong sense mercy as well.”
He added that evidence showed Gonzalez killed his mother out of love not malice.
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