Salt Lake County Jail
James Sanchez, 26, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison Monday for the 2011 beating death of his girlfriend, Angela Jenkins, 44. A judge ordered the sentence to be served consecutive to another 15-years-to-life sentence he is already serving for aggravated kidnapping. Investigators suspect he beat Jenkins for 10 hours before she died.
Having seen what wreckage you made of another individual, I am absolutely convinced that this sentence of 15 to life needs to be imposed consecutively. —Judge Denise Lindberg

SALT LAKE CITY — When he stood before a judge to be sentenced Monday, James Sanchez already knew he was facing a mandatory prison sentence that could span his life.

The only question was whether the inevitable 15-years-to-life sentence ordered for the murder of Angela Jenkins, 44, would run concurrent or consecutive to the 15-years-to-life sentence he was already serving for aggravated kidnapping.

"This woman suffered enormously at your hands over an extended period of time," 3rd District Judge Denise Lindberg told Sanchez. "I think those are grave circumstances. The injuries she sustained were appalling.

"Having seen what wreckage you made of another individual, I am absolutely convinced that this sentence of 15 to life needs to be imposed consecutively."

Sanchez, 26, was convicted of both murder, a first-degree felony, and obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony, following a jury trial in May. The judge ordered Sanchez to serve one to 15 years in prison for obstruction of justice. That count will run concurrent to the others.

Sanchez killed Jenkins on May 5, 2011, in an episode of extended abuse at their apartment, 2230 E. 3300 South. The woman's body was found covered in bruises and several of her ribs had been broken, prosecutors said.

Jenkins' mother, Denise Doebbeling, said her daughter was a child with a vivid imagination who grew into a mother. She said her daughter let Sanchez live with her because she "wanted to take care of him."

It was a kindness that was not returned.

"The hours of strangling and kicking to make sure she was dead … surely a gun would have been more merciful," Doebbeling said. "I hope you spend the rest of your life in prison."

Defense attorney Ralph Dellapiana asked for concurrent sentences, stating that his client was remorseful and confessed to police in an effort to take responsibility for what he had done. He said Sanchez has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and was acting under extreme emotional distress at the time of the crime.

"He didn't start off planning to murder her," Dellapiana said. "He became angry when he found out she was having sexual relations with his brother and flew into a rage."

The judge asked whether Sanchez had anything he would like to say. The man shook his head and declined.

Prosecutor Michael Boehm asked for consecutive sentences, arguing that Sanchez had a lengthy criminal history, refused to comply with probation and was still having problems even while in custody. More than that, there was the nature of Sanchez's actions.

"The level of violence in both of these cases is extreme," he said, pointing to the lengthy attack and the "immeasurable" amount of pain suffered by Jenkins. "The victim had fled to safety (before the fatal beating). … The defendant essentially lured her into this trap before her killed her."

The judge said she could see Sanchez's long history and was doubtful that he would ever change.

"I was the judge in both cases," Lindberg said. "I heard the testimony in both matters. … The conduct that occurred in, first the kidnapping case and aggravated assault case and then, ultimately, you succeeded in murdering her. Your conduct and the pattern of conduct directed at this victim over a period of time that she had the misfortune of associating with you is — was — grave."

Dellapiana said Sanchez is planning to appeal the conviction and ask for a new trial, because he said he wasn't allowed to present his planned defense of extreme emotional distress at trial.

Doebbeling said she still misses her daughter's smile and treasures her last memories of her. Monday's sentence gave her some measure of peace.

"I was worried he (Sanchez) would get out and have the opportunity to do it again," she said.

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