A man who fatally stabbed the 3-year-old daughter of two of his co-workers at a downtown Los Angeles garment factory on Halloween 2016 and attacked a woman at another factory nearly eight months earlier was sentenced Wednesday to 37 years to life in state prison.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Eleanor J. Hunter noted that the attacks by Ricardo Augusto Utuy involved “two totally separate victims” in “two totally different acts.” The judge rejected the defense’s request to run the sentences for the two crimes at the same time, saying the 37-year-old defendant had “earned” consecutive terms.
The judge also denied the defense’s motion for a new trial for Utuy, who was convicted Sept. 3 of first-degree murder for the attack on Ruby Vasquez of Los Angeles, who was stabbed three times with a knife as she went to give her father a cookie at a factory in the 800 block of McGarry Street, near Eighth and Alameda streets.
Utuy was also found guilty of attempted murder for the stabbing of a woman at another downtown Los Angeles factory on March 10, 2016.
Speaking on behalf of the girl’s parents, Los Angeles police Detective Moses Castillo told the judge that her family will “never be the same again.”
The detective also read letters from two of the girl’s sisters — one of whom asked why Utuy had to take the tot away from them and the other who called her sister her “little angel” and said the girl had barely started to live when her life was taken.
The victim of the March 2016 attack said through a Spanish interpreter that Utuy — a man she had never met before — had “caused me so much damage.”
“I want him to pay for what I have suffered because he’s a bad man,” she told the judge. “I want him to pay for life.”
As for Utuy’s motive, the police detective told reporters outside court that the defendant, who testified at his trial, “pretty much said that he had voices coming to him and daring him to kill Ruby.” He said there was also some mention of a Ouija board.
Castillo said the young girl understood the principles of forgiveness and giving by the tender age of 3.
“Her very last act in her life was the fact that she took a bag of cookies and gave one cookie to her mom and then said, `Mom, I’ll be right back. I’m going to give this cookie to my daddy,’ and when she gave that cookie to her daddy, that’s when the unthinkable, unimaginable act, the evil act (occurred),” the detective told reporters outside court. “So Ruby wasn’t at the wrong place at the wrong time. It was Utuy who was at the wrong place doing the evil act that he did …”
The Guatemalan national surrendered to Los Angeles police a day after the attack on the girl. Authorities subsequently linked him to the earlier attack.
The police detective said he is “confident” that Utuy will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Utuy’s attorney told the judge that her client plans to appeal his conviction.