It's a day the victim's mother had been waiting for for four years, but when it finally came, Donna Herrera's heart was still heavy.
"When you lose a child it goes to the depths of your soul," said Donna Herrera on the eve of a plea hearing for her daughter's killer. "She was a beautiful daughter."
Friday morning, Javier Silva pleaded guilty in court of killing 20-year-old Gabrielle Herrera and trying to cover it up.
Silva was 23 years old in June 2008 when police accused him of stabbing Gabrielle Herrera to death, dumping her body in an empty lot on El Paso's east side and setting it on fire.
Silva was sentenced to 45 years in prison for murder, arson and tampering of physical evidence. He will be eligible for parole after service half his sentence and will get credit for time served.
Donna Herrera told ABC-7 she does not understand why a plea deal was struck. "I believed (Gabirelle) deserved a fair trial because of the brutality of her murder," she said.
District Attorney Jaime Esparza sent ABC-7 the following statement:
"The defendant plead guilty to 45 years in prison. As always, we kept the victim’s family informed. The recommendation of 45 years in prison was based on the defendant’s criminal history and the facts and circumstances of the case. Some, but not all, of the victim’s family was in agreement with the recommendation of 45 years in prison. The District Attorney’s Office believes that this was an appropriate sentence."