INWOOD − A man who pleaded guilty to killing the 19-year-old mother of his child in 2009 after "a brutal cycle of violence that spanned several years" was hit with up to life in prison at his sentencing Thursday, prosecutors said.
Andre Velez, 25, who faces a minimum of 18 years behind bars after pleading guilty to murder in the second degree, was accused of killing his former girlfriend, Glendalyz Pagan, during a heated argument in the hallway of his apartment building on West 204th Street near Post Avenue.
According to prosecutors, Velez dragged Pagan, the mother of his 5-year-old child, into a vacant apartment where he choked her to death and then left her body in a closet, wrapped in plastic bags.
“As a result of this senseless killing, a young woman lost her life and a child lost his mother,” said District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
“This horrific crime is the culmination of a brutal cycle of violence that spanned several years. The impact of domestic violence cannot be overstated—it is a public health crisis, threatening our most vulnerable family members, particularly women and children.”
Velez — who prosecutors said had been dating Pagan since she was 14 — had been out of jail just three months after serving two years for assaulting the victim when he killed her.
Prosecutors said Velez had hit the victim in the head with a hammer, threw her down stairs in a subway station and choked her on at least two other occasions.
The sentencing comes as The District Attorney's office is pushing for the Aggravated Domestic Violence bill, which would allow prosecutors to charge someone who was convicted of two or more misdemeanor domestic violence offenses within the past five years with a class-E felony.
Currently, people who are convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence face the same sentence whether it is their 10th or 100th offense, the DA's office said.
The bill passed the State Assembly but has not been approved by the Senate.