New York woman gets 23 years for killing aunt with meat cleaver

Elizabeth Sanchez, 32, pleaded guilty in June to first-degree manslaughter and second-degree rape in the killing and assault, the district attorney said.

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By Phil Helsel

A New York City woman was sentenced Tuesday to 23 years in prison for killing her aunt with a meat cleaver and raping a teenage relative in 2017, the acting Queens District Attorney said in a statement.

Elizabeth Sanchez, 32, who is also known as Digna Sanchez-Ortiz, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and second-degree rape June 20.

She was accused of fatally attacking her aunt, Maria Palaguachi, 50, in the home they shared on March 16, 2017, with a meat cleaver, and of having sex with the teenage male victim between Dec. 30, 2016, and January 2017, and again in March of that year, Acting Queens District Attorney John M. Ryan said.

Ryan in a statement called the killing "a brutal attack that has traumatized an entire family," and he said that Palaguachi took Sanchez in when she had no other place to stay.

The attack took place in Jamaica, Queens.

Sanchez was sentenced to 23 years for the slaying and 2 1/2 to seven years for the rape conviction, but the sentences will run concurrently, the acting district attorney said. It will be followed by five years of post-release supervision.