Life Sentence Handed Down in Ashley Alcala Murder

By  | 

TOPEKA, Kansas (WIBW) -- Almost two dozen of Ashley Alcala's friends and family members filled the courtroom waiting to hear the fate of three of four people convicted in her shooting death.

She was shot in the head October 18, 2012 as she returned home from work.

Manuel Alcala will spend the rest of his life in prison, and his mother Manuela is set to get out of jail.

Manuela Alcala's sentencing began at 9 a.m. Thursday. On October 7 she was convicted of four counts of obstructing apprehension and one count of interfering with law enforcement.

An English to Spanish translator was present to explain court proceedings to Manuela.

Ashley's family had the chance to present victim impact statements. Eddie Bacon, Ashley's uncle and godfather, spoke to Judge Evelyn Wilson first.

Eddie said he believes Manuela should "reap what she sowed," saying that she had to have known her sons Manuel Alcala and Gabino Campos-Alcala, with the help of Benjamin Anaya, were going to do harm to Ashley. He told the judge Ashley was nothing but good to Manuela, and that she had loaned her more than $5,000. He went on to say that Manuela deserves to serve more time.

She was watching the couple's two young children the night Ashley was murdered.

"What the court hands down is not adequate to make up for her involvement," Eddie said.

A statement from Ashley's mother Karen Bacon was read by her attorney to the judge. In the statement, Karen said she hopes Manuela lives forever with the image of Ashley clinging to life, and Manuel's gun pointed to the back of Ashley's head. She closed the statement by adding, "I hope it was all worth it."

Manuela's attorney read a statement on her behalf, saying Manuela was truly devastated and sorry for the pain caused to everyone.

On behalf of Karen Bacon, the state of Kansas asked for a restitution fee of $41,148 to cover funeral costs and attorney fees associated with child custody issues. Eddie Bacon told 13 News the Bacon family is trying to get Manuel to relinquish all his rights to the children.

Manuela Alcala was sentenced to 30 months, with credit for time-served. She received 8 months for each of the three counts of obstruction and 6 months for the one count of interfering with law enforcement. She can apply to expunge her crimes.

She had already been incarcerated for almost one year. The judge put her on supervised probation for 18 months and is not allowed to contact the victim's family during that period.

"I wish it had been a little more severe, especially for the mother, but we're satisfied," Eddie said.

The sentencing for Manuel Alcala began shortly after 10 a.m.

Manuel entered the courtroom, appearing emotionless and tired. He flashed a faint smile at his two family members who were present. Ashley's family sobbed and consoled each other as he sat and sipped water.

He was convicted on October 7 of first-degree premeditated murder in the shooting death of his estranged wife Ashley in October 2012.

Eddie Bacon told Judge Wilson that he has found out revealing information about Manuel's life in the past year.

Eddie told 13 News he doesn't know who Manuel really is. "He presented himself as totally something he wasn't. He's smooth-talking, he's educated, but when I found the FBI background report on him, that showed a whole different person. And with seven aliases against him, who is he?"

He described to Judge Wilson the day he found Ashley dying from the gunshot wound when he arrived to the house. He said he will never forget that image.

"The man is a coward. He shot her in the back of the head, he couldn't face her."

Eddie went on to allege Manuel had been parked down the street from the home, watching as the investigation unfolded, when police and the ambulance arrived at the house. Eddie said Manuel and Ashley's young son was in the car, and that Manuel told him that his mother had been shot.

"What kind of human being does that?"

Eddie said Manuel took some of Ashley's valuable personal possessions and wants them back.

During this, Manuel's two family members present shook their heads.

"I want to see him drawn and quartered, but we're civilized and such things don't happen," Eddie said.

He ended his statement by saying Manuel showed a lack of respect for Ashley and he hopes Manuel's life becomes a living hell.

In Karen Bacon's written statement, she revealed that in a private conversation, Ashley had said if anything ever happened to her that Manuel did it. Karen said she felt her daughter knew something bad would happen to her.

"You have devastated the lives of hundreds of people. Ashley unknowingly affected so many lives. You took that away."

She warned that the children will one day learn the truth.

The statement ended with an email Ashley had written to a friend, saying "Manny made many promises he failed to keep," and that she was raising the kids alone because of Manuel's belief that it is only a woman's job. She said her heart was "tired and weary" and wanted a divorce from him, and knew he had no financial support to give. She said she hoped her kids would be okay.

Manuel's attorney read his statement to the judge. In it, Manuel said he entered into the plea to protect his mother's safety. He told Ashley's family there is nothing he can do to bring her back or relieve their pain, and thanked them for taking care of his children.

Judge Wilson sentenced Manuel Alcala to life in prison. He will be eligible for parole after 25 years and will receive credit for time-served. He will not have contact with the victim's family.

He must register as a violent offender should he ever be released.

Ashley's goddaughter and niece Makala Robinson expressed to 13 News the family's gratitude to everyone for the support.

"It's been hard the last year, but we're getting closure finally. We still don't know why he did it and we will never know why. We're slowly getting there."

Gabino Campos-Alcala, Manuel's younger brother and Manuela's son, was set to appear in court for his sentencing. He was convicted of second-degree murder with the intent to kill. Because of disputes over his criminal background, further documentation needs to be presented, and Gabino was not sentenced Thursday.

Gabino will appear in court for his sentencing November 5 at 10 a.m.

-- More on this story will be provided as the day progresses, including video and interviews.