Plea for Help: Tucson man sentenced for strangling mother of his child

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 10:37 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - It’s a moment Gracie McDonough had been waiting for nearly a year.

How would the judge rule in Angel’s felony case and would her voice be heard?

Judge Richard Gordon didn’t allow us to record the sentencing.

But KOLD sat in the courtroom and watched what happened and got reactions from Gracie and her mother right after the proceeding.

In the courtroom, Angel Carmona Rodriguez sat before Judge Richard Gordon, who began by saying the case concerned him.

It was a statement Gracie had hoped to hear after all her efforts to fight for justice.

Gracie said, “I was like shaking and nervous. I was so scared.”

She had hoped the judge had heard the sound picked up from a surveillance camera the night of the strangulation, when he threatened to kill her.

Audio recording of Angel: “You are going to die today.”

Gracie appeared in the courtroom to read her victim’s statement hoping the judge would weigh it heavily.

She described years of abuse and told the judge she used to go to bed too scared to go to sleep thinking she would be killed by Angel.

And that Angel had no empathy or regret.

Gracie said, “I wanted him to know that he’s not going to change. Like this is who he is and he need to be in trouble. And then I wanted his to know how long and how often it was. It wasn’t just the one time that he got arrested for.”

And Gracie’s mother Sharon believes the judge listened.

Sharon: “I thought the judge really was thoughtful and careful in his thinking. I heard him grab onto details and dig in a little deeper on them.”

Angel had told the judge in court he is “honestly very sorry” and feels “remorse and regret”.

His defense attorney described Angel as having a dysfunctional childhood who experienced domestic violence in his own family.

And it was his first felony conviction.

The defense asked for 3 years of standard probation.

The judge then handed down the sentence.

He gave Angel 4 years Intensive Probation and he’s required to undergo substance abuse and mental evaluations.

Gracie said, “And I felt like the first time I’ve been listened to.”

But that wasn’t all.

The judge ruled Angel must remain working and living more than 2 miles from Gracie.

Judge Gordon had extended the boundary in February after learning Angel violated his terms of release when he worked about a block from her.

The defense attorney confirmed Angel had no place to live.

The judge sentenced him to 60 days in jail until a living space can be secured notably a half-way house.

Gracie said, “I like how the judge said no, he’s gonna go into custody until we know where he’s gonna live so we can know where his is at, at all times, for now on.”

And the judge ruled when Angel’s released from jail he’ll be required to wear an ankle monitor to track his steps.

It’s a relief -- piece of mind -- for Gracie and her family.

Gracie said, “It finally feels like he’s going to be watched and I am not gonna have to worry about where I am and what I’m doing. Instead, I can live my life while he’s the one that has to be watched because he’s the one that did it.”

Cavazos: “Overall, are you glad you came forward?”

Gracie: “I am.”

Sharon said, “Gracie got to be heard and I think that was the most important healing piece of this whole thing.”

Gracie said after the ruling that it’s the first time in years she can get a good night’s sleep.

We’ll of course keep track of the progress in this case.