Apparently at some point this spring, Luis Andres Cardona ran even shorter on cash than human decency, if that's possible. But how else is there to explain the fact that he pawned a video camera with a tape of him repeatedly raping a nine-year-old girl still in it?
Yesterday the 53-year-old Mission man formally confessed to the continuous sexual abuse of a child.
Earlier he told police that he started raping the daughter of a family friend -- reportedly a family he took into his home when they fell on hard times -- in December of 2008 and that the abuse continued until February of this year. Investigators reportedly had great difficulty sitting through the graphic evidence, which showed father of three Cardona raping the girl on eight different occasions. The woman who bought the tape at the pawn shop was also horrified and traumatized.
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"There is no way to explain what happened," Cardona said in court earlier this year. "I pray the mother can forgive me and that my children can forgive me. I am ashamed of what I did."
And around the time of his arrest, Cardona told Valleycentral.com that he put himself in God's hands and hoped that the judge wouldn't be "too harsh" on him.
That's all well and good, but when the gavel came down yesterday Judge Letty Lopez was apparently unmoved by Cardona's words of repentance. She sentenced Cardona to 50 years in prison without the possibility of parole. Maybe she noticed that Cardona never even asked for forgiveness from the little girl he raped.
Cardona's courtroom troubles aren't over. The feds have charged him with producing child pornography. A conviction in that case seems likely to be obtained and could get him life behind bars, not that he's likely to ever get out of state prison.