Man convicted of murder stabbed wrong woman to death, not girlfriend of 8 years, prosecutors say

Man convicted of murder stabbed wrong woman to death, not girlfriend of 8 years, prosecutors say

(As originally published with additional photos, Mon, October 9th 2023, 5:20 PM EDT; first article here)

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (TND) — A man who stabbed a friend of his ex-girlfriend to death — when he wanted to kill his ex, according to prosecutors — has been convicted of the murder.

A jury found Richard Montano guilty of first-degree murder, last Thursday.

The crime happened in August 2022 in Falls Church, Va., near Washington.

The prosecutor said Montano killed 40-year-old Silvia “Kelly” Vaca Abacay, “and set her body on fire to attempt to conceal the murder.” Montano, 48, was also convicted of arson in an occupied home.

Abacay, the victim, had been staying at Montano’s ex-girlfriend’s apartment. The two were friends. And the crime happened about two weeks after Montano’s ex-girlfriend ended their eight-year relationship.

At the trial, the prosecution said a neighbor’s Ring doorbell camera showed Montano had entered his ex-girlfriend’s apartment multiple times in the previous month, without her knowledge. The last time was 10 days before the murder.

The neighbor called 911 four times on the afternoon of the crime after hearing screaming and banging from across the hall.

The medical examiner determined Abacay died from multiple sharp- and blunt-force wounds before her body was set on fire.

“As Commonwealth’s Attorney, I’ve seen considerable crime scenes and photos, but the photos from this case stood out in terms of the severity of the victim’s injuries,” Steve Descano of Fairfax said. “Nothing can undo Silvia’s death, but a conviction ensures that the defendant is no longer a danger to members of our community.”

Montano faces life sentences for each charge. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for January.

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