Omar Armando Loera pleaded guilty to murder Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, almost a year after killing 34-year-old Chere Osmanhodzic, and setting her house on fire.
Loera, 34, was sentenced to life in prison for the July 24, 2010 murder during a very emotionally-charged hearing. He will not be eligible for parole.
The victim, a bride-to-be, just weeks away from her wedding day, was viciously stabbed by a Loera, a career criminal, who apologized in court Tuesday.
“I am taking full responsibility and I will pay in full. I can’t undo what is done, I will give my life right now as we speak, if I could bring her back,” he said.
Osmanhodzic’s father, Mike Cameron, told CBS2 it was hard for him to keep his emotions at bay while looking at his daughter’s killer.
“What I wanted to do was try to jump across the table and grab him, he said.
What was stopping him?
“All the police officers standing behind me. I would have loved to take him, you know, and taken care of business myself, but we discussed this and he’s going to have to answer for the crime that he’s done,” he said.
By pleading guilty, Loera escaped the death penalty.
“We had lunch laughed a lot and had a wonderful day. When we said our goodbyes that evening, her last words were, ‘Mom, I love you, and I’ll see you next Sunday,’” said Gail Cameron, the victim’s mother.
That Sunday would have been her wedding shower.
KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports on court reaction from the victim’s friends and family:
“Chere had been brutally murdered. When I received the tragic news, I was devastated that my body went numb and I went into shock. I said this can’t be real. It was though,” Mrs. Cameron said.
Police said Loera was walking in the neighborhood that night, just looking for an unlocked door. What happened after that, police said, was horrific. Loera broke into the home, brutally beat Osmanhodzic, stabbed her, and then before running away, set the apartment on fire.
Her fiancé, Adam Culvey, came home in time to see a man fleeing. He gave chase, couldn’t catch him, and when he walked back, he saw the flames shooting from the building. He couldn’t get back inside.
“I am sorry I put them through all this,” said Loera.
But sorry wasn’t enough to make things OK for the victim’s family.
“There’s no more phone calls, hugs, kisses, I love yous,” said her mother.
Loera was captured in Mexicali, even though he is not a Mexican citizen. He was deported twice because he lied about the fact because he could get back out of prison quicker if he said he was in country illegally, but he was born in the USA.
The family was grateful for one thing: avoiding a trial, which they said would have been devastating.