It is a crime that sounds like it comes from a truly demented horror movie. Jose David Diaz-Marrero, along with his accomplices Waldo Soroa and Matrix Andaluz, broke into a house in Silver Springs Shores, Florida on December 15, 2010 and stole three urns containing the ashes of the homeowner’s father and two of her Great Danes. The ghoulish thieves also stole $1,500 worth of jewelry, a laptop and a 42-inch television set. The burglary occurred during a two month crime spree by the three men during which they committed several other burglaries.
After returning to their abode, the three men somehow became convinced the urns held crushed up pills instead of human and canine ashes. The confused criminals took turns tasting and snorting the ashes from the various containers.
When the trio learned the true nature of the contents of the urns after they read an article about the burglary in a local paper, they discarded the remains in a nearby lake. Police were able to recover the ashes of one of the dogs and the woman’s father and return them to the homeowner. The remains of the second dog were not recovered.
The homeowner, Holli Tencza, was particularly attached to her dogs, both of whom lost their lives in unusually trying circumstances. The two Great Danes had been tragically killed when a neighbor working in his garage shot them. He claimed he felt threatened by the dogs and despite an uproar in the community, the District Attorney decided not to press charges.
The unusual burglary took place two years ago and the slowly grinding wheels of justice in Florida rolled to a halt for Jose David Diaz-Marrero last Friday, when he finally had his day in court. Diaz-Marrero addressed the packed court prior to his sentencing and expressed his regrets for his astonishing behavior:
“I recognize that I’ve made a big mistake. I wish the victims were here so that I could tell them how sorry I am.”
Despite Diaz-Marrero admitting his crimes, explaining his efforts to improve his life since his arrest, and profusely apologizing to Holli Tencza, the judge was not inclined to be lenient. After a taking underwhelmingly brief moment to contemplate his options, the judge sentenced Mr. Diaz-Marrero to eight years in prison, six years probation and ordered him to pay $20,000 in restitution to his victims.
Mr. Andaluz pleaded guilty in June to the burglaries and was sentenced to nine years in prison and 12 years of probation. The case against Mr. Soroa is still pending. Apparently, the state of Florida has no trouble giving offenders hard time for non-violent robberies and the unlucky trio will probably spend the better part of the next decade behind bars.