Rhoderie Estrada’s eldest daughter remembers the night of May 25, 2018 in vivid detail.
Being awakened by her father entering her room. His frantic 911 call and the rush of lifeguards. The cold break room at the police station where she, then 14, sat with her two younger sisters after being interviewed by a detective.
It was a long wait until he finally saw his father again, and his first question was, “Where is Mommy?”
“There was a brief hesitation and pain that crossed her face before she said, ‘Mommy’s gone,'” she said Thursday in a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing for the two people who murdered her mother.
“And so my world fell apart.”
Estrada, 41, had been building the life she dreamed of with her husband and three daughters.
In the East York home the couple bought in the mid-2000s, their oldest daughter learned to ride a bike, their middle daughter learned to walk, and their youngest was born. As Estrada thrived on her career as a dialysis nurse at St. Joseph Hospital and supported her husband at his Filipino restaurant, they hosted Christmas dinners and backyard barbecues, welcoming other immigrant families and making them feel at home for first time in Canada.
All of that came to an end when two strangers broke into that house on Torrens Avenue.
Her husband Gerald Aquintey found her in her room when he returned home from a friend’s restaurant grand opening.
“I have a hard time remembering my wife’s elegant face because all I see is her face when I found her lifeless, her face beaten and swollen,” he told the court in his victim impact statement.
Looking at Yostin Murillo and David Beak, both convicted of first degree murder and sexual assault after a jury trial last month, he said, “Why? Why? Why did you do such a thing? Why couldn’t you leave when you found out someone was home? “
“Now I am a husband without a wife, my children without a mother,” he said. “Without it, our lives are aimless.”
Murillo and Beak were sentenced Thursday to mandatory first-degree murder – life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years – before a courtroom packed with people who loved Rhoderie Estrada and are struggling to understand why she was murdered. evening. .
Her second oldest daughter said that she thinks every day about how she didn’t tell her mother “I love you” before going to bed that night.
“I think about how she won’t be here to watch us grow into adults and start our own families. I don’t think I could ever thank him for everything he has done for me, ”he said.
The jury heard that Murillo and Beak broke into the home through a window in a remodeled basement, seeking to steal valuables to buy alcohol and drugs.
The jury’s verdict shows that they unequivocally rejected Murillo and Beak’s claims that only Murillo killed Estrada and that it was only after she died that Beak had sexual contact with her.
In his brief sentencing reasons, Superior Court Judge Ian MacDonnell said a reasonable interpretation of what happened that night is that when Murillo and Beak found Estrada alone in the bedroom, they decided to sexually assault her. When she resisted, they both hit her repeatedly on the head with crowbars. A pathologist discovered that he received a minimum of eight blows.
The attack was “nothing short of shocking in its violence,” he said.
They were arrested days later and have been in custody ever since. Murillo still faces charges for allegedly assaulting a woman and a security guard, as well as an assault while at the Toronto South Detention Center.
Before sentencing, Beak refused to say anything. Murillo, however, apologized and said he wished he had made different decisions that night.
“I was out of control of my life due to alcohol and drugs, but I am fully responsible for my actions that night,” he said. “I sincerely regret to her and her family the loss and suffering I caused.”
Estrada’s co-workers in the St. Joseph’s Hospital dialysis unit recalled his cheerful presence as a team leader and his ability to welcome and calm even the most stressed patients.
“She chose a profession focused on care and comfort, but her own right to life ended inhumanely,” they said in her victim impact statement.
“We will never fully recover. We cannot and will never understand the evil acts that took it from us, ”they wrote.
His murder was devastating not only for his family and friends, but also for the nursing profession as a whole, they said.
Some of those who spoke said they are tormented by the fear that now they cannot avoid being attacked in their own homes – checking that windows are closed not once but four times before they can sleep.
“But the biggest burden I have,” said her niece, “is having to look at her three beautiful girls and her husband who loved her with his part of himself and know that they had it a million times worse.”
At the end of his statement, Estrada’s husband looked at his parents and children and apologized; her words were met only by tears and head shaking.
“I am very sorry that I was unable to protect Dherie. I hope you can forgive me. Sorry.”