PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- The wife of a man found guilty of first-degree murder for killing his mother and parts of her body in the trash was sentenced to four years in prison.
The sentencing came down Thursday afternoon for Melanie Cuevas. Cuevas will be eligible for parole in 2025.
Cuevas was initially placed under arrest at the same time as her husband, Anthony Cuevas, but she wasn't charged with accessory to crime until months later.
Anthony Cuevas was found guilty in July 2021 for the killing of his mother, Mary Cuevas-Garcia. He was arrested after being seen on video putting a suitcase containing his mother's remains into a dumpster outside of a Pueblo car wash in October 2019.
According to the Pueblo Police Department, more of her remains were found near the Arkansas River
According to Colorado Court records, Melanie had a trial initially set for February, but she entered a guilty plea in January.
In court, Melanie Cuevas and her public defender asked for a lenient sentence, saying she was a victim of domestic violence and was scared of what her husband would do to her.
Clips from a police interrogation of Melanie Cuevas were shown at sentencing, where Melanie Cuevas said of her husband, "If he can do that to his mother, what will he do to me?” She also told police she was under the influence of drugs, but never actually touched her mother-in-law's body. She admitted to police she helped Anthony Cuevas hide his mother's body in a suitcase.
In the interrogation, Melanie Cuevas said she saw Anthony Cuevas with a baseball bat and heard the thud of Mary Cuevas-Garcia falling to the ground. She told police she, "came out with the suitcase and [told Anthony Cuevas]do what you want to do, I don’t want to be a part of it."
Mary Cuevas-Garcia's family said they don't believe Melanie Cuevas was a victim of domestic violence, and she could have stopped the murder, and told the police.
"She could have stopped it, she had plenty of chances," Mary Cuevas-Garcia's niece Romancita Cuevas told KRDO. "She could have gone to the neighbors and called for help, but she chose not to do it."
Romancita Cuevas was amongst Mary Cuevas-Garcia's family members who read victim impact statements, asking the judge for the maximum punishment. She said Thursday's verdict, "helped a little bit but it's not going to bring her back."