Woman sentenced to 23 years in meat cleaver killing

A New York City woman has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for killing her aunt with a meat cleaver.

Elizabeth Sanchez, 32, pleaded guilty in June to first-degree manslaughter, according to the Queens County District Attorney’s Office. She had initially been charged with murder. She was sentenced on Tuesday to 23 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Sanchez killed her aunt, 50-year-old Maria Palaguachi, in March 2017, by attacking her with a meat cleaver in the home they shared in Queens. Palaguachi died from injuries to her head, back and shoulders, according to charging documents. The documents state that, after the killing, Sanchez hid the bloody cleaver in her attic.

“This defendant brutally took the life of her close relative, someone who took her into her home when the woman did not have a place to stay,” Acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan said in a statement Tuesday. “This was a brutal attack that has traumatized an entire family.”

Sanchez, who also goes by Digna Sanchez-Ortiz, also pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree rape for having sex with a male relative under the age of 15 on multiple occasions.

Sanchez’s attorney declined to comment on the sentencing.