WOODSIDE — The sisters of a man murdered in his apartment by a drifter he met at the Port Authority prayed his killer would spend the rest of his life in jail, they told a judge at his sentencing Tuesday.
The siblings of Wayne Graves, 62, who was found strangled and beaten in the bathtub of his apartment at the Berkeley Towers co-op in Woodside on Oct. 19, 2011, urged Judge Gregory Lasak to give his killer the maximum sentence, saying he "is a very dangerous person, with no soul.
"I pray that you meet someone in jail who pounces on you in the matter in which you pounced on my brother," Graves' youngest sister, Penny Graves Rodriguez, told his attacker, Raymond Epps.
Graves used a walker to get around and couldn't even fight off Epps, 58, who was convicted last March on multiple murder and robbery charges, the DA said.
The two met a few days before the murder at the Port Authority, and Epps — a career criminal with 10 convictions dating back to 1979 —asked Graves for a place to stay while traveling from Boston to Florida, according to the DA.
After murdering Graves, Epps stole his credit cards, cash and cameras, returning to Boston on his victim's dime and then buying items in stores to trade for crack cocaine, according to the DA.
Epps maintained his innocence at Tuesday's sentencing hearing, admitting he used the credit cards but insisting he did not kill Graves.
"I'm not no murderer, I'm a criminal," he told the court, adding that prosecutors never found DNA evidence that could connect him to the crime and adding that he had no violence in his previous criminal history.
But Graves' two sisters, who spoke at his sentencing, said they had to hide his death from their elderly mother, who had just lost her husband and was suffering from dementia. She kept asking about her beloved son, who they described as generous and kind.
"I'll never comprehend why my brother had to endure such violence and rage," Graves Rodriguez said. "Raymond stood over my brother, watching him take his last breaths."
His sister Robin Graves Osborne told Epps, "You are an animal, and you belong in a cage with other animals."
Judge Gregory Lasak sentenced Epps to the maximum of 25 years to life in state prison.
"You snuffed the life out of him with your bare hands," he told Epps.
He told Graves' family that while the sentence won't fill the void left by the loss of their brother, "hopefully it will give you solace."