MANHATTAN — The son of "You Light Up My Life" songwriter Joseph Brooks was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison Monday for strangling and drowning his swimsuit designer girlfriend in a tony Meatpacking District hotel.
Cachay's devastated parents addressed Brooks before he was sentenced, according to media reports.
"You're an animal — a sewer rat," Antonio Cachay, the victim's father said, according to the New York Daily News. "I have sat on that bench for every hearing and during the trial and not once did you show any evidence of regret or...remorse."
"No word in the dictionary, in this world, could describe the cruelty and cold blood of this man that only thought of himself," Cachay's mother, Sylvia Cachay said, according to the News.
Brooks told Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Bonnie Wittner he suffers over the death of his girlfriend.
"The loss of Sylvie is the most devastating thing that has ever occurred in my life," Brooks said, according to the Associated Press. "I think about her every day, and it breaks my heart."
Cachay was found half-clothed in an overflowing bathtub at Soho House on Dec. 9, 2010 after a guest on a lower floor reported about 2 a.m. that water was leaking through the ceiling.
Brooks was seen leaving the room about 2:18 a.m., the News reported, and officials pronounced the up-and-coming swimwear designer dead around 3:30 a.m.
The city medical examiner later determined that Cachay, who was found with injuries to her neck and the top of her head, died from a combination of drowning and manual strangulation.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Hoffman and an expert medical examiner argued Cachay could have received these injuries during CPR attempts and could have drowned accidentally because of pain killers in her system, the New York Post reported.
Brooks — who prosecutors described as a marijuana-using college dropout living on a trust fund — is the son of disgraced Oscar-winning composer Joseph Brooks, who committed suicide in May 2011 at age 73. Before his death, he faced multiple sexual assault and rape charges for allegedly luring young women to his Upper East Side apartments for purported film auditions.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance urged action to disrupt domestic violence.
"We have come a long way in our recognition and understanding of domestic violence, but there is much more we have to do to better protect individuals like Ms. Cachay," he said in a statement. "I encourage victims to contact my office’s domestic violence hotline at (212) 335-4355 for assistance."