YAKIMA A Granger man convicted last month for killing his wife and burning her body has been sentenced to 27.5 years in prison.
The family, including eight children, of Maria Gonzalez-Castillo of Granger, endured a 7-day trial in December that ended in the conviction of her murderer and husband, Jaime Munguia Alejandre, 44.
The jury convicted him of second-degree murder and unlawful disposal of a human body. The sentencing was Friday.
In addition to prison time, Alejandre will serve 36 months of probation and pay a $600 fine.
Judge Gayle M. Harthcock presided over the case, which was prosecuted by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brooke Wright.
Jury selection began Nov. 28 and proceedings started Dec. 4, including the testimony of one of the couple’s children, who testified to finding his mother’s body in a firepit behind the family home.
Gonzalez-Castillo, 37 at the time of her death, was reported missing on June 2, 2017. Her children called authorities.
It was reported Gonzalez-Castillo and Alejandre had been arguing the night before, records show.
The children, looking for their mother, smelled what they believed to be burning flesh and investigated outside the home. The two oldest reportedly were led to the family’s firepit, where bones and a skull were identifiable.
Detectives with Yakima County Sheriff’s Office determined the bones were human remains, and Coroner Jack Hawkins determined they had been cut or sawed in an effort to dismember the body, so it would fit into the firepit.
At the time of the investigation, authorities disclosed there was also a large amount of blood in the couple’s bedroom.
Hawkins, a couple weeks after the homicide, said Gonzalez-Castillo’s remains revealed she had died as a result of blunt force trauma to the skull. She had to be positively identified via forensic dental analysis.
Bail for Alejandre was set at $1 million after he was arrested on suspicion of second-degree homicide.
He was 43-years-old at the time of his wife’s death.
The couple’s children have been living with family, and the community has rallied behind them since the homicide took place.