For years, Leslie Camacho was kept from contact with her family by her husband’s “controlling nature,” relatives say.
But the Lenexa woman had enough. Last year she re-established contact with her family and decided to file for divorce.
“She wanted to be happy again,” her cousin, Sara Konzak, said Monday.
But the 35-year-old mother of three didn’t get the chance.
She was strangled inside her home in March. Her husband, Dominic Camacho, was charged with killing her.
On Monday he was sentenced in Johnson County District Court to 23 years and seven months in prison.
“No one owns another person,” District Judge Steve Tatum said to Camacho before imposing the sentence jointly recommended by prosecutors and the defense attorney as part of a plea agreement.
Camacho, who turned 38 last week, was initially charged with first-degree murder after his wife’s body was discovered inside their home in the 13000 block of West 94th Place.
But in September, as his trial was set to get under way, he agreed to plead no contest to a charge of second-degree murder. He also agreed to not dispute a motion by prosecutors for an “upward departure” from the sentence called for by state guidelines.
Before he was sentenced Monday, Camacho spoke in a soft, barely audible voice and repeatedly said, “I’m sorry.”
His lawyer, Carl Cornwell, said Camacho accepted full responsibility.
“He knows everybody is sad and he’s the responsible party,” Cornwell said.
Speaking on behalf of Leslie Camacho’s family, Konzak said that if it was possible under the law, the relatives would like to see him get a sentence of life without parole. If not, they hoped he would be in prison for as long as possible to prevent him from hurting another family.
Konzak said it took her cousin a long time to build up the courage to break away from her husband and she was just beginning to re-establish a relationship with her family when she was killed.
“Dominic took her away from us for good.”
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