Man who admitted to murdering Santa Maria woman sentenced to 25 years to life

Posted at 9:02 AM, Jul 19, 2018

One of two defendants in the Marilyn Pharis murder trial was sentenced Thursday to 25 years-to-life behind bars. 

Jose Villagomez pleaded guilty in May to first-degree murder for the death of Pharis in 2015.

Villagomez and Victor Martinez were arrested and charged after the attack.

Police said the men broke into Pharis’ Santa Maria home, raped her and beat her with a hammer. She died in the hospital days later.

The plea agreement reached with Villagomez just days after the two men’s trail began included the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office dropping three special circumstance allegations of robbery, burglary and sexual penetration against him.

Villagomez is not eligible for probation and will not get credit for time served, the judge ruled Thursday. That means he will have to be behind bars for 25 years before being eligible for parole. 

Villagomez was only 20 -years-old when the crime was committed, so he won’t be eligible for parole until he’s 45. 

"He deserves every day in his 25-to-life sentence," DDA Ann Bramsen said after Thursday’s sentencing. 

Last month, a jury came back with a guilty verdict for Martinez in connection with Pharis’ death.

The jury also found true special allegations of robbery, burglary, sexual penetration, and use of a deadly weapon (a hammer), but was deadlocked on an additional allegation of torture. Prosecutors moved to have the torture allegation dismissed.

Martinez is scheduled to be sentenced on July 30.