A Silver Spring man pleaded guilty Wednesday to stabbing and killing the mother of his children in a parking lot in front of a Garland Avenue apartment building last May.
Hector David Granados, 45, of the 8700 block of Barron Street, was soft-spoken and kept his eyes downcast as he confirmed his plea before Judge Sharon V. Burrell in Montgomery County Circuit Court Wednesday morning. Granados was scheduled to go to trial Nov. 26 but attorneys reached an agreement in his plea deal earlier this month.
As part of the agreement, Granados, through defense attorney William C. Brennan, agreed to waive his rights to an appeal in exchange for a 40-year cap on Granados’ sentence.
Because Granados pleaded guilty to first-degree murder he will receive a mandatory sentence of life in prison, but Assistant State’s Attorneys Margaret Schweitzer and Ryan Wechsler will only ask for Granados to serve a maximum of 40 years under the agreement.
“The defense will ask for less than 40 years and the state will ask for 40 years, but the sentence will be up to Judge Burrell to decide,” Brennan told Granados in explaining the agreement.
The prosecution originally filed its intent to seek a life sentence without the possibility of parole for Granados, the maximum penalty for first-degree murder, court documents state.
The victim, 47-year-old Ana Ayala, had two children with Granados during their 18-year relationship but had decided to break up with him two months before the stabbing due to his problems with alcohol, Schweitzer said in her proffer to the judge. Granados continued to harass Ayala after their break up, even allegedly ambushing her outside her apartment just two weeks before the stabbing, according to police accounts.
Ayala spoke with the police and tried to file for a court protective order after the assault, but the office she was directed to was closed when she arrived, Schweitzer said.
Police were called to the 8700 block of Garland Avenue at about 8:15 a.m. May 7 by a friend of Ayala’s who had arranged to pick her up to go grocery shopping. As the two prepared to leave, Granados approached the witnesses’ truck and demanded that Ayala speak to him, Schweitzer said.
After he reached in the vehicle, Ayala stepped out to talk with Granados and he pulled a knife from behind his back, stabbing her multiple times in the thigh and lower right back and also injuring her hand, Schweitzer said, citing medical examiner records and police reports.
Granados fled the scene and police arrived shortly thereafter, attempting to give Ayala CPR when she stopped breathing, according to police. In spite of their efforts, Ayala was pronounced dead in an area trauma center at 9:13 a.m., Schweitzer said.
Granados turned himself over to police later that afternoon and confessed to the murder under questioning, according to police reports. Granados had also confessed to the killing to several of his family members, who also gave statements to police, Schweitzer said.
Granados is scheduled to be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 5.