A Virginia man who killed a 14-year-old boy in the child's bedroom when he was 17 years old is headed to prison for the rest of his life.
Colins Rodriguez Rodriguez, 18, was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday for the brutal killing of Luis Coca-Crespo.
The boy was found dead May 12 in the bedroom of the townhouse in Dale City, Virginia, where his family rented an apartment. The attack was so brutal that detectives initially could not tell how he had been killed.
A chilling confession later revealed details. Rodriguez, whose family lived in the basement, plotted revenge after the younger boy told on him for smoking marijuana.
"He told me the reason he'd been planning the killing for a while was because [Coca-Crespo] told on him," a detective previously testified.
The 17-year-old sneaked upstairs, grabbed a hammer and hit the 14-year-old as he begged for his life.
Coca-Crespo's sister discovered her younger brother's body. She told a judge on Thursday that she still has flashbacks about the terrible scene she saw.
"My one and only sibling has been taken away in the worst possible way, in a way no one deserves to die," she said on the stand.
She said the killer initially ran to comfort her, pretending he knew nothing about the crime.
The siblings' parents were in their native Bolivia when Rodriguez killed their son; the child's grandfather had just died.
His parents sobbed as they listened to prosecutor Brian Boyle recount the crime and ask the judge to exceed the sentencing guidelines.
Rodriguez's mother spoke and sought a lesser term. She pointed to a birth defect her son has that gives him a humpback appearance. She said Coca-Crespo, who went by Erick, had mocked her son, angering him.
"Erick became the symbol of Colins' revenge. He was a symbol of a lifetime of being mocked," she said.
But the prosecutor countered: "Until May 12, Colins Rodriguez Rodriguez was a monster through no fault of his own. This defendant made himself a monster by his deeds on May 12."
When Rodriguez had his turn to speak, he did not seek mercy.
"I've very sorry for what I caused, and I deserve the worst punishment possible," he said.
That's what the judge did, giving Rodriguez a life term. Coca-Crespo's family members embraced each other, crying, as they left the courthouse. They declined to comment.
Coca-Crespo's family never returned to the home where the eighth-grader was killed, his sister said.
"As soon as I saw my whole house destroyed [and] I saw my brother, we did not walk back into that house again. We lost everything," she said.