Jesus Rangel told police it was the biggest mistake of his life.
Now Rangel will have at least 15 years to think about that mistake after being sentenced by a judge for the murder of a young mother.
Thursday morning, Rangel pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the April 2008 death of 23-year-old Virginia Sanchez.She was strangled in her car in the back parking lot of Carolinas Medical Center-Pineville, where she worked as a nurse's aide.
Sanchez and her husband were friends with Rangel and his wife. The two couples had a falling out, but family members never imagined it would end in murder.
"There's no reason he could ever give that would justify it," said Sanchez's father, James Keith Caroll.
More than a dozen of Sanchez's family members showed up to court Thursday, all wearing identical light blue shirts with a picture of the young mother, her husband and their two children on the front. They were emblazoned with the words, “Taken too soon. Never forgotten.”
"He took my only daughter. I miss her every day," said Caroll, who spoke with Eyewitness News after Rangel was sentenced.
Yvonne Jacobs-Leon, Sanchez's mother, read a letter to the judge before the sentencing, saying Rangel was a monster and that she hoped he would get the maximum sentence.
As part of the plea deal, Rangel admitted to committing second-degree murder and couldn't receive more than 40 years in jail.
The judge decided the murder was “heinous, atrocious and cruel” because Rangel strangled Sanchez to death with a seat belt in her car.
Rangel will spend at least 15 years in prison.
He didn't say much in court, only whispering answers to an interpreter when he was asked a litany of questions about whether he agreed to the terms of the plea deal.
The day was especially hard for Sanchez's family because the young mother left behind two boys.
"Today is Jordan's birthday, and he doesn't have his mother to share that with him, and that's just not the way it should be," said Jacobs-Leon.
The family said the guilty plea and sentencing gives them closure, but they know there are some questions that'll never be answered.
"My thought all along was, 'Why did he do this?' I came to the conclusion yesterday, it doesn't matter why. There's no reason whatsoever," said Caroll.