SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - It’s the end of a painful ordeal for family and friends of a 27-year-old aspiring nurse from San Jose. Alessandra Barlas was stabbed to death back in 2015. On Tuesday, a judge sentenced her ex-boyfriend to 50 years to life in prison for her murder.
In a Santa Clara County courtroom, through tears and facing her best friend’s accused killer, Michelle Dotson relived the pain of losing her friend Alessandra Barlas.
“Domestic violence took Alessandra from us,” said Dotson. “A real man's job is to love his woman. A real man would never lay his hand on a woman.”
A father expressed his anger referring repeatedly to the defendant as a "wretched" person.
“As a coward, because he could not have her,” said Alessandra’s father Glen Barlas. “He took her life. How evil.”
They were among those in the courtroom filled with Alessandra's loved ones. A judge sentenced her ex-boyfriend Hugo Castro to a minimum of 50 years for her killing.
Back in October of 2015, the San Jose state alum, about to start nursing school, was found murdered in a downtown San Jose apartment.
Castro, now 30, pled guilty to first degree murder and a strike to a prior offense. He previously spent jail time for assaulting an ex-girlfriend in Nevada eight years ago. That survivor, driving from Reno, spoke saying she no longer lives in fear.
“I’m happy to finally know and to hear guilty,” said Castro’s ex-girlfriend Katrina Esparza.
Castro, visibly distraught, held his head down for most of the sentencing. A slideshow of Alessandra's pictures played in the courtroom.
“This is an appropriate sentence,” said Deputy District Attorney Chris Walsh. “It's a severe sentence. It's our expectation that this defendant will die in prison, that's our expectation, that's our hope.”
Loved ones said this day brings them closure, as they’re now focusing on carrying Alessandra's legacy of strength and protecting others from domestic violence.
“We rejoice today justice is being served,” said Dotson. “That a message is being put out to the world that this is not acceptable nor will it be tolerated.”
Alessandra's parents have started a foundation in her name to shed light on domestic violence and its perpetrators. As for Hugo Castro, he won't be eligible for parole until 2067.