Camden - A New Jersey man was sentenced on Thursday to 110 years in prison in the rape of a girl and the stabbing death of her 6-year-old brother who had come to her defence.
Osvaldo Rivera, aged 35, was sentenced for the 2012 crimes authorities initially said he committed after smoking "wet", or marijuana laced with PCP. A few weeks before the attacks, a New Jersey woman who had been using the same drug decapitated her 2-year-old son then killed herself.
The two tragedies brought attention to the dangers of the drug and to a rash of homicides that year in the area. Prosecutors later said they had no evidence that Rivera was on the drug at the time of the crimes.
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Authorities say Rivera broke into the family's home early on 2 September 2012, and attacked the girl who was asleep on the sofa. Family members have said that 6-year-old Dominick Andujar was stabbed when he came to his sister's defence.
"Grown men wouldn't do what Dominick did that day," Tiarra Andujar, another of Dominick's sisters, told reporters outside the courthouse on Thursday. "He's our soldier and will forever be in our hearts until the day we die."
Rivera was convicted in July of murder, attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault, burglary and terroristic threats.
The girl, now 14 and still bearing scars where she was slashed with a knife that morning, attended the sentencing.
Family members wept in court as more than a dozen people read statements about the harm Rivera did.