Life in Prison for 1988 Slaying of Teen

"You have left such a path of destruction," Judge tells Pedro Miranda.

Pedro Miranda has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing Carmen Lopez, 17, of Hartford, in 1988.

Miguel Roman had been wrongfully convicted of killing Lopez, who he was dating, and served 20 years of a 60-year sentence until DNA evidence cleared him of the slaying in 2008.

On Friday, Roman was in court for the sentencing. Through a translator, he said he missed out on time with his family, including the birth of his son and seeing all three of his children grow up.

He said he spent the first few years of his prison sentence lying awake at night, praying for his family and praying that he would one day be exonerated, then asked the court to punish Miranda for "what he has taken from the Lopez family and from my family."

Lopez was found strangled with an electrical cord on Jan. 5, 1988 in an apartment on Nelton Court in Hartford. She was bound, gagged, sexually assaulted and left hanging from the couch in a Hartford apartment, prosecutors said.

The prosecutor called Miranda a "sexual sadist, sexual predator who killed for the sake of killing."

Miranda had been a friend of the Lopez family and Carmine's mother, Ana, spoke tearfully of being betrayed by Miranda taking her daughter's life.

Lopez's brother, Jose, asked for the maximum sentence. Her sister, Jackie, tearfully questioned Miranda.

"Why did you take her last breath away, allowing her to die alone?," she asked.

Miranda was arrested for Lopez's death in 2008 on a DNA match. He had been convicted of sexually assaulting a West Hartford woman that year and his DNA sample matched DNA found on Lopez’s underwear, body and other evidence, officials said. 

Miranda is also awaiting trial on charges he killed two other Hartford teenagers in the 1980s. Authorities said all three killings were sexually motivated.He denies the allegations.

Before sentencing Miranda to life in prison, Judge Julia DiCocco Dewey told Miranda that "nothing in your history elicits any sympathy from me. You have left such a path of destruction. ... You let a man spend decades in jail. You took away his youth his ability to relate to his own family"

A lawsuit is pending against the city of Hartford and the police department for the wrongful arrest and conviction of Roman. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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