Back in 2004 Rocio Santoyo discovered that her estranged husband, Walter had had a child with another woman while they were separated. They had a child together, and he'd had two before they hooked up. She knew about those. She found out about the fourth when she went to the child support office. She was a mite upset.
A) Weep silently and rally against an unkind fate.
B) Remove Walter from her life completely, moving on and working toward making her and her son's life better and more fulfilling.
C) Blindfold and stab her 10-year-old son, Soloman, to death in a misplaced act of vengeance, leaving a note in red Sharpie on the bathroom mirror saying, "Walter, I told you so. I hate you. Now you really only have three kids."
Guess which one she opted for?
Well, two years on and she's finally been convicted of 1st Degree Murder, getting a paltry 26 years for slaying her son.
"She killed her child with ruthless efficiency," the judge said, noting the "unimaginable horror" the child must have felt at being attacked by his own mother.Rocio is 30 now. She'll probably get parole in 10 to 15. Unless she gets more tacked onto her sentence for violations. Or the parole board ignores the overcrowding situation in California's jails and looks instead at the seriousness of her crime. Or maybe we'll all get lucky and she'll get shivved in the exercise yard and die under a basketball hoop. One can hope.
One of the things that bothers me the most about this is the desperate workings of the defense.
Defense attorney Leslie Stearns maintained that the prosecutor's version of the events, while true, did not tell the whole story. Santoyo was a single mother struggling to make ends meet, whose life was suddenly shattered when her dream of having a family vanished, Stearns told jurors at the beginning of the case.How does that situation, tragic though it is, even begin to excuse the heinousness of this murder?
I get it, she's grasping at straws, looking for anything that might help her client. That's her job, and I respect her for it. I also feel kind of sorry for her. This could not have been easy. It's hard enough to be a defense attorney in this town and keep your soul intact. I have to wonder what this one job cost her.