ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. – A Thornton man who pleaded guilty to shooting and killing his wife of 34 years, who was leaving him, was sentenced Friday to 36 years in prison.
Hector Frias, who will turn 51 Saturday, had originally been charged with first-degree murder for the shooting death of his wife, Norma, last December.
But he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder after claiming the gun had accidentally gone off. Frias shot his wife while she was driving following an argument at an area bar. She was found dead in Hector’s Dodge Durango near East 74th Avenue and Washington Street.
17th Judicial Deputy District Attorney Brett Martin said at Friday’s sentencing that Frias walked to a liquor store, bought two shots and walked home after the shooting.
The couple has four children, who asked the judge Friday to sentence Frias to the minimum of 24 years. But Judge Patrick Murphy instead handed him a 36-year sentence, calling Frias’ actions “cowardly.”
“[T]o shoot a defenseless woman, the mother of his own children, to leave her to die and then try to make up some story about it,” Judge Murphy said, “[t}he evidence demonstrates that this was not an accident.”