ALHAMBRA, Calif. - A South Pasadena father, who admitted to killing his 5-year-old son amid a bitter custody battle with his estranged wife, has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Aramazd Andressian Sr., 35, pleaded guilty earlier this month to first-degree murder in the death of his son, Aramazd Andressian Jr.
According to Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives, Andressian Sr. confessed to having smothered his son to death with the boy's own sweatshirt less than an hour after leaving Disneyland. Then, he told detectives he left the child's body by a tree near Vista Point at Cachuma Lake, and that he blamed his actions on his anger toward his estranged wife, Ana Estevez.
A probation report states that a child's sweatshirt was later found in Andressian Sr.'s vehicle. Detectives noted that there was a white film on the back of the shirt that appeared to be vomit.
Investigators said Andressian Sr.'s motive was to frame his estranged wife for the boy's murder. "It was planned for about three months, four months in advance," said Det. Louie Aguilera. "His intentions were to kill the child, kill himself and have everyone point the finger at Ana."
Several of the child's family members, including Estevez, delivered emotional statements in court before Andressian Sr.'s sentence was read.
Slain boy Aramazd Andressian Jr.'s mother speaks after sentencing
"I wish that I was taken instead of my son, so that my sweet baby can live," she cried. "I will never see my son fall in love and marry the woman of his dreams. He was my greatest happiness and is now my greatest sadness."
Andressian Sr. was sentenced by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Cathryn Broughman in an Alhambra courtroom. Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum of the Major Crimes Division prosecuted the case.
Judge sentences Aramazd Andressian Sr. to 25 years to life in prison
The boy was last seen April 21, leaving Disneyland with his father, grandmother and aunt.
According to Detective Louie Aguilera with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, Andressian Sr. drove his son straight from Disneyland to Santa Barbara. Within about an hour of arriving in the Lake Cachuma area, Andressian Sr. killed his son, the detective said.
Aguilera added that Andressian Sr. intended to kill himself after killing his son, and blame it on Estevez.
MORE: Public memorial held for Aramazd Andressian Jr.
Aguilera said Andressian Sr. had been slowly putting things into motion for months to frame Estevez.
The detective said Andressian Sr. told people Estevez had been following him and that he felt he was in danger. Aguilera said it was later proven by investigators that Andressian Sr. was not followed and he was not in danger.
One day after Disneyland, Estevez reported her son missing after Andressian Sr. did not drop the boy off as scheduled. Andressian Sr. was found passed out in his car at Arroyo Seco Park in South Pasadena, and the child was nowhere to be found. Andressian Sr. was not able to account for his son's whereabouts.
Aguilera said Andressian Sr. had left Lake Cachuma about eight hours after murdering his son. He then drove to Arroyo Seco Park. The detective said Andressian Sr. took a bunch of medication and poured gas all over the interior and exterior of his car, but he passed out from the meds before he could do anything else.
During her powerful -- and at times unwavering -- statement, Estevez told her estranged husband she pities him.
"You are a failure as a father, you are a failure as a man and you are a failure as a human being," she said. "Your cowardice behavior is inexcusable and appalling."
In response to the statements, Andressian Sr.'s attorney spoke on behalf of his client, who sat motionless throughout the hearing.
Aramazd Andressian Sr's attorney speaks at sentencing
"There are no words to, obviously, justify what happened... my client eventually did do the right thing and confessed," the attorney said.
Andressian Sr. initially denied being involved in the murder, but he later confessed and led investigators to the little boy's body near Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County.
His confession was part of a deal to avoid the death penalty, his attorney has said.
Authorities believe the motive for the killing was revenge on Estevez. Court documents detail a stormy relationship between the two, and allegations flew back and forth about the treatment of their son.