California father sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in 5-year-old son's killing

ALHAMBRA, Calif. (WPVI) -- A California father, who admitted to killing his 5-year old son amid a bitter custody battle with his estranged wife, has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

KABC-TV reports, Aramazd Andressian Sr., 35, pleaded guilty earlier this month to first-degree murder in the death of his son, Aramazd Andressian Jr.

Several of the child's family members, including his mother Ana Estevez, delivered emotional statements in court.

"I wish that I was taken instead of my son, so that my sweet baby can live," she cried. "I will never see my son fall in love and marry the woman of his dreams. He was my greatest happiness and is now my greatest sadness."

The boy was last seen April 21, leaving Disneyland with his father, grandmother and aunt.

MORE: Public memorial held for Aramazd Andressian Jr.

A day later, Andressian Sr.'s estranged wife reported her son missing after the father did not drop the boy off as scheduled. Andressian Sr. was found passed out in his car at Arroyo Seco Park in South Pasadena, and the child was nowhere to be found. Andressian Sr. was not able to account for his son's whereabouts.

During her emotional statement, Estevez told her estranged husband she pities him.

"You are a failure as a father, you are a failure as a man and you are a failure as a human being," she said. "You're cowardice behavior is inexcusable and appalling."

In response to the statements, Andressian's attorney spoke on behalf of his client.

"There are no words to, obviously, justify what happened... my client eventually did do the right thing and confessed," said Andressian's attorney.

Andressian Sr. initially denied being involved in the murder, but he later confessed and led investigators to the little boy's body near Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County.

His confession was part of a deal to avoid the death penalty, his attorney has said.

Authorities believe the motive for the killing was revenge on Estevez. Court documents detail a stormy relationship between the two, and allegations flew back and forth about the treatment of their son.

Estevez was expected to be in court Wednesday to give a victim impact statement.

Send a breaking news alert
Report a correction or typo
Learn more about the 6abc apps
Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.