SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon man has pleaded guilty to killing an ex-girlfriend months after she obtained a restraining order against him.
Cristian Acosta, 23, of Salem avoided a potential death penalty by pleading guilty to murder in Marion County on Tuesday. A three-day sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 28. The judge will decide whether to give Acosta a true-life sentence or the chance for parole after serving 30 years.
Acosta is not a U.S. citizen and would face deportation if ever released from prison.
The victim, 20-year-old Lucia Pamatz, knew Acosta was dangerous and filed a restraining order against him in June 2016. Three months later, she was fatally shot at her family’s home.
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Her family sobbed as Acosta walked past them Tuesday, the Statesman Journal reported (https://is.gd/KTAAwW). Acosta answered a series of questions from Judge Courtland Geyer with “yes, sir” and “no, sir” before the judge accepted his guilty plea.
In her petition for a restraining order, Pamatz said Acosta had access to firearms and “is capable of hurting me and other people.”
She also cited a series of disturbing encounters. During one incident in May 2016, she said, Acosta grabbed the steering wheel while she was driving, pulled her hair and seized her wrist.
“I told him to stop,” she wrote. “He was hurting me, and I was really afraid.”
Once she parked, he grabbed her face and ripped her shirt. Pamatz said she yelled for help before blacking out.
Acosta pleaded guilty in August 2016 to domestic violence assault. A judge sentenced him to 18 months on probation, during which he was to avoid Pamatz, complete a Batterer Intervention Program and not possess weapons.
Salem police discovered Pamatz’s body on Sept. 19, 2016. Within hours, they released a photo of Acosta and a description of his 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer.
Washington police stopped him early the next day just short of the Canadian border.
Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com