Meridian Star

State/Region

March 7, 2013

Life in prison for man in mother's murder

GULFPORT, Miss. —  

A Gulfport man has been convicted of murder after testifying that he had injected himself with cocaine and talked to the devil before killing his mother in 2011

Ryan Abeyta was sentenced to life in prison after Wednesday's jury conviction.

Police said 56-six-year-old Pamela Marlene Santiago was beaten and choked in her home office after confronting Abeyta, then 29, about here missing debit card. Her body was found in woods in Gulfport on Oct. 11, 2011.

The Sun Herald reports that a Harrison County jury heard two days of testimony, including a videotaped confession, and found Abeyta guilty after 35 minutes of deliberation.

Abeyta blamed the slaying on his state of mind due to drug and alcohol problems. On Tuesday, he sobbed openly as the jury watched his taped confession.

He took the witness stand Wednesday and told jurors he didn't remember killing Santiago.

Abeyta, who was unemployed, said he owed his bail bondsman $50 on a pending drunk driving charge, but his mother wouldn't give him the money because he had taken her debit card. He'd been running up $70 bar tabs nightly at her expense.

On the night of the killing, he had come home from a bar with cocaine.

"I remember sitting in a chair, a recliner, in the living room and shooting up 2 to 3 grams of coke," Abeyta said. "I had a conversation with the devil in my head about killing my mom. I don't remember walking into the office at all."

 

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