SAN BERNARDINO (CBS) — A Redondo Beach man was sentenced Monday for murdering a popular South Bay bartender in February 2009.
Tony Lopez Perez was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole for the first-degree murder of Cori Desmond.
“I hope he never gets out in the street again,” said Desmond’s grandmother, Beverly. “I hope he suffers as much as she suffered.”
Desmond, 28, disappeared in Redondo Beach while leaving her bartending job on Valentine’s Day 2009. A few days later, her body was found in a plastic trash bag on the side of the road in Running Springs, in San Bernardino County.
Perez’s former girlfriend, Tiffany Ware, tipped off police that she suspected Perez of the murder.
She spoke to the courtroom, recounting the panic attacks she had and worrying Perez would find out about her police involvement.
Desmond’s father, Mark, addressed the judge and asked him to give Lopez a life sentence.
Just before sentencing Perez asked God and the court to show him mercy.
“My very deepest apologies to the Desmond family and to my own family. I have brought such hurt and sorrow to the Desmonds that will [forever shape their life].”
Desmond’s father, Mark, later told the press that “[Perez] does show remorse, and that’s a start.”
The judge allowed the Desmond family to show a 10-minute video with photos of Cori, while Sara McLachlan’s emotionally-wrought song “Angel” played.
Desmond lived with her grandmother the last 10 years of her life. She described Cori as a happy woman who was always smiling.
“It’s been very hard, very difficult,” Beverly Desmond said.