CHICAGO (STMW) — A 37-year-old woman who helped her former mother-in-law orchestrate a caustic acid attack against a Logan Square social worker was sentenced to 42 years in prison Wednesday.
“I want to tell you that I’m sorry for the damage I caused,’’ Maria Olvera-Garcia told Cook County Judge Nicholas Ford.
Olvera-Garcia said she cried when she heard about the serious injuries Esperanza Medina suffered from the 2008 assault.
“I never expected this to happen,’’ the mother of five said.
Olvera-Garcia drove three teens she and Ofelia Garcia recruited for the attack. The two were upset because Medina started dating a man they had both been romantically involved with in the past.
The women got the teens to do “what they didn’t have the guts to do,’’ Ford said.
Medina’s face was permanently disfigured from the assault. Twenty-five percent of her body was burned and she had to endure over a dozen painful skin grafts.
Medina, 50, was in court earlier this week when Olvera-Garcia’s co-defendant Ofelia Garcia was sentenced to 44 years in prison on heinous battery charges.
The maximum both women faced was 45 years.
Olvera-Garcia’s attorney Mike Holzman asked for a lighter sentence, noting that his client was a participant but not an “architect’’ of the plan.
Medina was in court again Wednesday but had a relative read her impact statement, as she did on Monday.
“Sometimes I thought God had forgotten about me,’’ Lissette Medina said, reading from her mother’s statement that detailed the physical, emotional and financial suffering resulting from the attack.
Esperanza Medina wrote about getting a look of “repulsion’’ from a cashier and being scared to go anywhere alone because of her disfigurement.
“I tried to live as normal as I can, but society judges us,’’ Medina said.
But Medina, who signed her statement as “ex-victim,’’ also indicated she didn’t give up.
After Wednesday’s court hearing, Medina said she didn’t believe Olvera-Garcia’s apology was sincere, but said she was moving on.
“I’m going back to my life,’’ Medina said, adding she was “more relieved than before. Justice is done.’’
Holzman said he wasn’t surprised by the judge’s sentence given that he had punished Garcia so severely two days before.
“I’m a little disappointed but it wasn’t unexpected,” said Holzman, adding that he will appeal the decision.
Olvera-Garcia’s brother, who only identified himself as George, said his sister was taking the fall for the actions of Linda Dirzo, another woman who allegedly helped drive the children to Medina’s home.
“She had some part. . . [but] now they’re convicting Maria for what Linda did,” he said.
“I feel that she is being tried unjustly.”
Dirzo died in Cook County Jail while awaiting trial.
Two of the teens involved in the attack pleaded guilty to heinous battery, while a third teen, a lookout, was sentenced to two years probation.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)