SALT LAKE CITY — Apologies were offered and tearful expletives were thrown Tuesday during the sentencing of a Utah man convicted of murdering a woman and trying to suffocate her 5-year-old daughter.
Jason Black, 27, turned to the parents, sister and husband of the woman he fatally shot in May 2016 before receiving a sentence that could see him in prison for the rest of his life.
“Words can never begin to express how sorry I am,” he told them, KSL reported .
But his apologies were met with an emotional, obscenity-laced attack.
“Were you sorry when you beat her?” shouted the woman’s husband, Steven Arceo, from the front row of the courtroom gallery.
Arceo was wearing a T-shirt with a picture of his late wife, Natalia Casagrande. Other friends and family of Casagrande wept as Black was led out of the courtroom.
Black was sentenced to 25 years to life for aggravated murder, as well as additional sentences for felony attempted aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and obstructing justice.
He will be eligible for parole after serving 36 years, Utah’s Third District Judge Adam Mow said during the proceedings.
“You’ve ruined many lives through the actions that you’ve taken,” Mow told Black.
Black was potentially facing the death penalty until he agreed to plead guilty in October to charges stemming from Casagrande’s killing.
The fatal shooting occurred when Black visited the home that Casagrande and Arceo shared in the Salt Lake City suburb of Magna to purchase marijuana, as he had several times before, authorities say. Arceo was not at home at the time.
For some reason he “snapped,” Black said in a statement shared by his attorney, Mike Peterson.
“I don’t know why I lost it. I wish I knew some of those things,” he said.
Police say he beat Casagrande, cut her with a knife or glass and shot her in the head while her two children were at the home. Then, he attempted to smother her 5-year-old daughter by putting a pillow over her face.
The girl survived but still suffers emotionally, Casagrande’s sister, Stephanie Sanchez, told the court about her niece,
“She can’t even hear fireworks now because she remembers the day that her mother got shot in the head,” Sanchez said. “She’s traumatized for life from what he did.”