A 28-year-old woman who lured a Pasco father to his death in 2014 claims she cried and begged forgiveness at the man’s gravesite before she was locked up.
Mary A. Faucett told the court Thursday that once she’s done with her 10-year, 10-month prison term, she will continue to mourn Lorenzo “Richie” Fernandez Jr.
“I am deeply sorry for their loss of a loved one. It has been almost three years that I have been waiting to be able to speak out and apologize,” she said. “I know me saying I’m truly sorry doesn’t bring Richie back.”
Faucett pleaded guilty Aug. 17 in Franklin County Superior Court to first-degree manslaughter. She originally was charged with conspiracy, first-degree rendering criminal assistance and making false or misleading statements.
In accepting the deal, Faucett and defense lawyer John Crowley agreed to a sentence longer than the standard maximum of 9 1/2 years.
Deputy Prosecutor Maureen Astley said Faucett knowingly participated in causing Fernandez’s death by following him into a convenience store, getting his phone number and later calling him to meet up at the Stonegate Apartments in Pasco.
Then, late Dec. 3, 2014, Faucett sat in an SUV not far from the meeting spot and according to a witness had no reaction as the shots rang out that killed Fernandez, Astley said.
Instead, she kept calling the victim’s cellphone so her husband and his cousin could find the phone on Fernandez and take it to avoid detection for the murder, she added.
“Her actions were especially callous, egregious, and the fact of the matter is that she set in motion the events that led to Mr. Fernandez’s death,” Astley said.
Fernandez, 22, had been at his parents’ house when he got the call and drove his Ford Mustang to the complex. Eight shots were fired into his car. He tried to drive away, but died in the parking lot.
He has a young daughter who Fernandez’s sister has said asks if she needs to die young to see her dad again.
Alejandra Cardoso, a victim advocate with the Support, Advocacy & Resource Center, read a collective letter Thursday from the half-dozen Fernandez family members in court.
“We cannot find the words to express everything that we feel. A lot of time has passed and the pain remains the same, a pain you could have prevented,” they said. “For all of my family you are as guilty as the person who took his life because you could have avoided everything … if you just wouldn’t have made that call.”
“I hope God can forgive you because my family can never forgive you,” the letter concluded.
Judge Cameron Mitchell said the victim’s family had his sincere condolences, and he hopes they can “move forward as much as possible with the grief and the void that’s been left in your lives.”
Faucett was ordered to have no contact with Fernandez’s family for 50 years.
Fernandez was targeted in retaliation for the earlier death of Anthony Guerrero, who died after the car he was in was riddled with gunfire. No one has been charged yet with that shooting.
Fernandez reportedly was associated with the gang that is believed to have killed Guerrero.
The shooter, DeShawn I. Anderson, now 21, was sentenced in August 2016 to nearly 94 years for murder, assault and gun possession.
Faucett’s husband, Kenyatta K.E. Bridges, is serving 10 years and five months after pleading guilty late last year to manslaughter. His wife got five months longer.
Crowley, Faucett’s lawyer, said his client has a hard time believing she played a role in Fernandez’s death.
“There was no plan in this case. Things got out of control and now Mary has some time to serve,” he said.
Joanne Romero told the judge that her daughter didn’t know Anderson was going to kill Fernandez. Faucett believed they were there only to fight. “I ask for mercy because she did not know,” Romero said.
Faucett told the judge she didn’t want to make excuses for her actions.
“I am in the wrong because I did not think of all of the what ifs. I did not once think that what ended up happening, would happen,” she said. “For that I am here today accepting my fate.”
Faucett apologized to her family, along with the courts and the community. She said her love for her 10- and 12-year-old children is immeasurable, and it is “the worst feeling in this world” knowing they don’t have their parents by their sides.
“I apologize for my poor decisions and for any and all pain I’ve caused,” she said. “During these 28 months, I have grown and I will continue to grow with each day that passes by. … I refuse to become institutionalized by this (prison) time.”
Faucett can appeal her conviction and sentence.