LOVINGSTON — A Nelson County man will serve 25 years in prison for the December killing of his brother’s sister-in-law.
Francis Panal Quiros, 40, of Shipman, pleaded guilty in June to the death of Amy Holden, 42, of Shipman.
“This was a brutal, savage and gruesome murder,” said Nelson Commonwealth’s Attorney Anthony Martin during Quiros’ sentencing hearing Tuesday in Nelson County Circuit Court.
Fifteen years of the total 40-year sentence were suspended. Quiros will be on probation for 20 years after his release and must undergo any mental health treatment his probation officer deems necessary. The sentence also bars him from contact with the victim’s family and orders $5,400 in restitution.
If the case had gone to trial, Martin said testimony would have said Holden was unconscious when she was strangled. He said 18 blunt-force trauma injuries were found on Holden’s head and neck, as well as bruises on her thighs and defensive cuts on her hands and arms.
“This wasn’t a shooting death,” Martin said. “This was up close and personal.”
He said the defendant’s primary weapon was his hands.
During an interview between Quiros and Investigator William Mays, of the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office, Quiros told Mays he was ready to go to jail and serve his time and that he didn’t care about “rotting in jail” because he probably deserved it, Martin read from the transcript.
“And he does,” Martin told the court, asking for the maximum sentence.
Quiros’ defense attorney, Bonnie Lepold, submitted documents pertaining to Quiros’ four years in the military, which included service in the Persian Gulf and an honorable discharge. She also showed documentation that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression and had been under a counselor’s care since 2000.
“He’s accepting responsibility for this gruesome act,” she said.
Lepold reminded the court that Quiros called 9-1-1 the morning of the homicide and basically confessed to the crime.
She also asked the court to take into consideration that Quiros is not a U.S. citizen and can be deported.
Quiros had been staying with his brother and his brother’s wife for a few months, which is within walking distance of Holden’s residence — the scene of the homicide.
Holden’s sister, Katherine Woods, of Phoenix, told the court about Holden’s life.
“She had just an abundance of love,” Woods said. “She had compassion beyond anyone else I’ve ever known, given what she’s been through.”
Holden’s daughter died 10 years earlier.
Woods told the court Holden loved animals and sometimes would go without food when money was tight to feed her animals. She added that Holden would work two jobs just to be able to give Christmas presents
“I’ll never be able to talk to her again,” Woods said. “I’ll never be able to have a relationship with her again. She’s gone.”
Woods said her only solace lies in her knowledge that Holden was with God. She wanted Quiros to know what he did not only affects him but his family and Holden’s.
Quiros choked back tears as he told the court and those assembled that he loved and cared for Holden unconditionally.
“There’s nothing I can say that will bring comfort to those here on behalf of Amy,” he said.