By Christina Carrega
A Colombian man who traveled to the United States to build a better life for his family will instead spend at least 25 years in prison for stabbing a woman to death in Jamaica Hills during a botched robbery.
Yonathan Galvez-Marin was sentenced to 25 years to life in Queens Supreme Court Tuesday morning for killing Nazma Khanam in 2016.
“My mother was a teacher her whole life,” said Nazmul Alam Khan during his victim impact statement on Tuesday morning. “She was a very good person.”
Khan, 30, spoke in Queens Supreme Court during Galvez-Marin’s sentencing. He was convicted after a jury trial for stabbing Khanam to death.
Khanam, 60, was enjoying a summer walk with her husband in August 2016 on Normal Road when Galvez-Marin approached her and demanded “dinero.”
Galvez-Marin, 25, stabbed the beloved mother once with a kitchen knife and ran away to a nearby corner where he smoked marijuana, according to court testimony.
“You watched as her husband came to grips and agonized over losing his wife,” said Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise, who scolded Galvez-Marin for ruining several lives — his own and Khanam’s family members’.
Khanam's nephew, NYPD Officer Humayan Kabir, told Aloise that it pains him to look at his uncle, Khanam’s husband.
“My uncle, when I look at his face it's as if he aged 10 years in two,” said Kabir who fought back tears. “It's a coward who did this. My aunt didn't deserve to die like that.”
Galvez-Marin's attorney Frank Kelly asked Justice Aloise to give leniency to his client who was an exceptional member of society and who was never arrested before.
“This doesn't seem like this individual,” Kelly said.
Galvez-Marin was honorably discharged from the Colombian Marines and regarded as an “excellent” member of a student symphony, Kelly said.
“He came to New York, worked in Brooklyn as a busboy to try and support himself … this not the type of person to get into this,” he added.
Galvez-Marin, who spoke through a Spanish interpreter, maintained his innocence.
“The statements I made to the police were made by many motives,” said Galvez-Marin. “The police knew I was under the influence of drugs and took advantage. Since I was the only person who passed by on camera, they arrested me.”
Nonetheless, Aloise and Assistant District Attorney Rachel Buchter said the death of Khanam was heinous and senseless.
“This person should never walk the streets again,” Buchter said. “The only just sentence is the maximum of 25 years to life.”
Justice Aloise agreed.