2 sentenced to prison in Ottawa Co. man’s murder

Maryann Castorena and Anthony Delagarza in court for sentencing on Dec. 22, 2014.

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) – Two people have been sentenced to decades in prison in the death of an Ottawa County man.

Jose Hernandez. (2012 photo courtesy his family)
Jose Hernandez. (2012 photo courtesy his family)

Maryann Castorena and Anthony Delagarza were sentenced Monday afternoon in Grand Haven Circuit Court in connection to the death of Jose Hernandez.

Castorena, who is Hernandez’ ex-girlfriend, was sentenced to life in prison. She was found guilty of first-degree murder, open murder, solicitation of murder and lying to a peace officer in November.

“Your honor, I am still going to maintain my innocence,” Castorena said Monday before she was sentenced.

Castorena’s accomplice, Anthony Delagarza, who lived with Hernandez for a time, was sentenced to 20 to 40 in prison for the crime. In August, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

“I deserve to go to hell,” Delagarza said during the sentencing proceedings.

Authorities say Castorena and Delagarza murdered Hernandez outside his Park Township apartment in January, and their motive was his $1.5 million life insurance policy. Hernandez’s body may have been out in the snow near his car for more than 24 hours before it was discovered.

Police say it was Delagarza who actually committed the murder, striking Hernandez at least five times in the head. His testimony was key in the case against Castorena.

“I know that deep in my heart I had to do the right thing and come forward and tell the truth,” Delagarza said.

Castorena spoke for about 20 minutes during the sentencing hearing, claiming that she loved Hernandez and was never interested in the money.

“I’m not a money-hungry person. That hurts because that’s all the opposite that I am,” she said.

She blamed law enforcement.

“They have the truth. It is in those papers, it is on those interviews, but they can turn around because they are the law. How do we defend ourselves against people like that?” she said.

She also said Delagarza was coached by police.

“He was guided by the detectives to say certain things,” she said.

But Judge Edward Post didn’t buy it.

“You are clearly guilty beyond a reasonable doubt despite your comments to this court,” the judge said when handing down Castorena’s sentence.

Through tears, Castorena promised she will appeal the sentence.

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