By Caroline Boras
Sergio Ramon Zuniga Robles was sentenced on Tuesday to serve 26 years in prison. He was found guilty in January of fatally stabbing his half-brother at their Leesburg home.
Circuit Court Judge Jeanette A. Irby said the jury’s recommended sentence–25 years in prison for the second-degree murder of Mario Arturo Ochoa Robles and one year for stabbing in the commission of a felony—was appropriate.
On Feb. 1, 2016, Zuniga Robles came home from work and got into an argument with the victim, Ochoa Robles, over his brother’s failure to do work around the house, the prosecution said at the sentencing.
In his testimony at the January trial, Zuniga Roberts said his brother began swinging a knife at him as their argument escalated.
The argument ended with Zuniga Robles standing over Ochoa Robles’ badly injured body with two bloody kitchen knives in his hands, a scene that was described by Zuniga Robles’ fiancée who came downstairs to see what all the yelling was about.
Zuniga Robles said he had picked up six knives that had been scattered around the apartment during the fight and was holding them in a bundle in front of his stomach when his brother lunged or fell into him.
Ochoa Robles was taken to the hospital, where he died. He had multiple stab wounds in his chest; many were superficial slashing type cuts, but one was deeper—and fatal.
On Tuesday, prosecution said Zuniga Robles’ testimony was “common sense defying.” They said the jury recommended sentence was appropriate and that Irby should consider it.
The defense was asked Irby to suspend a part of the jury’s suggested sentence, as they saw Zuniga Robles as a “low risk.”
Irby chose to follow the jury’s sentence recommendation, and added an additional three years of post-release supervision.
Caroline Boras is an intern at Loudoun Now. She’s studying journalism and Russian studies at Washington & Lee University.