The murder was "so inexplicable, so depraved ... it defies description," a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge told Gabriel Campos-Martinez on Monday as she sentenced him to 25 years to life for the slaying of his boyfriend.
After killing Hervey Medellin, Campos-Martinez chopped up the body and left the head in a plastic 99-Cents Only store bag near the Hollywood sign, jurors were told during the trial.
Judge Katherine Mader said jurors heard the who, what, when and how of 66-year-old Medellin's December 2011 killing.
"But we never really learned why," Mader said. "It has always been a question in my mind." Mader added that Medellin supported the younger man generously and took him into his home.
Why, she wondered, would "someone so kind, so generous" meet such "a terrible end?"
Medellin's head was found by a dog walker along a popular Bronson Canyon trail beneath the Hollywood sign on Jan. 17, 2012. A day later, a right hand and a foot buried in a shallow 6-inch grave turned up nearby.
Then detectives combing the area found a left hand. All the parts were determined to be Medellin's.
Campos-Martinez had filed a missing persons report on Medellin one day before the head was found.
Trial testimony revealed that a computer in the apartment the men had shared shortly before the murder had been used to access an article on dismembering human bodies: "Butchering of the Human Carcass for Human Consumption."
Shortly before the sentencing Monday, Christina Medellin-Serrano told the judge that her uncle had been a kind, generous and charming man who would not have harmed anyone. Who, she said she initially had wondered, would commit such an act?
"This person is a monster," she said."How does a person like this do this to another person and continue with life?"
She said her father has Alzheimer's disease and doesn't know of his brother's fate.
"I don't have the heart to tell him he'd been murdered," she said. "I have to make excuses why he hasn't heard from him."
Campos-Martinez hasn't shown an ounce of remorse, she said. "There is so much evil in this world in which we live in," she added.
Jurors earlier this year deliberated for a day and half before convicting Campos-Martinez, whom authorities said had been the focus of their investigation from the beginning.
Prosecutor Bobby Grace presented evidence to jurors that Medellin was killed on or about Dec. 27, 2011, and died as a result of asphyxiation. He was last seen the day before, Grace said.
On Jan. 16, detectives at the LAPD's Hollywood station received an anonymous tip that Medellin was missing. The call prompted detectives to go to the apartment the two men shared.
Campos-Martinez said Medellin had gone to Mexico and at first said there was nothing out of the ordinary but soon agreed to file a missing persons report.
The relationship, Grace alleged, had turned sour and Campos-Martinez learned that Medellin was about to break things off.
LAPD Dets. Chuck Knolls and Lisa Sanchez-Padilla found no evidence that Medellin had ever left the country, but a search of his apartment turned up incriminating evidence on their computer.
In March 2014, Campos-Martinez was arrested in San Antonio, Texas, where he had moved about a year after Medellin's death. He had married a woman there and worked at the San Antonio Convention Center.
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