BALTIMORE — A man convicted of conspiracy in the slayings of three young relatives who were nearly beheaded in 2004 insisted at his sentencing on Monday that he is innocent.
Policarpio Espinoza Perez, 31, wept and told Baltimore City Circuit Judge M. Brooke Murdock he's been in prison for nine years for a crime he didn't commit.
"I am not a violent man," Espinoza Perez said. "I loved them."
Murdock sentenced him to life in prison, but said he would be eligible for parole in 10 to 12 years.
Espinoza Perez was convicted last month in the slayings of Ricardo Espinoza, his sister, Lucero, and their cousin Alexis Quazada, at a Baltimore apartment. The children, ages 8 to 10, were beaten with a bat and almost decapitated with a long knife.
Espinoza Perez and Adan Canela were tried on murder charges in the childrens' deaths. Their first trial ended in a hung jury. The two were convicted at a second trial; that verdict was overturned on appeal.
A motive for the slayings was never established.
Canela is scheduled to be tried next month.