A former New York City pastor will spend more than two decades behind bars for brutally murdering his wife in front of their two young grandchildren. Judge Margaret Clancy of Bronx Supreme Court on Thursday sentenced Victor Mateo, 65, to 23 years in a New York State prison for running over 58-year-old Noelia Mateo multiple times in front of her home in 2019, then repeatedly stabbing her with a machete, prosecutors announced.
A former pastor at the Christian Congregation The Redeemer Church in the Bronx, Victor in November 2020 admitted his culpability, pleading guilty to one count of first-degree manslaughter. The sentence aligns with what prosecutors recommended to the court after reaching a plea agreement with Victor’s defense attorney.
The Yonkers resident was facing a maximum penalty of 25 years.
“The defendant not only took the life of a Bronx grandmother, but also inflicted a possible lifetime of trauma to her grandchildren who were witnesses to this horrific crime,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said in a statement. “The defendant and the victim had been estranged for approximately a month before he killed her. He pleaded guilty to first-degree Manslaughter in November.”
In addition to his time in prison, Judge Clancy also sentenced Mateo to serve an additional five years of post-release supervision and finalized orders of protection mandating that he not contact the two grandchildren who were forced to witness the gruesome ordeal. They were ages 9 and 11 at the time of their grandmother’s death.
Victor and his wife had reportedly been estranged for about a month prior to the shockingly graphic slaying.
As previously reported by Law&Crime, Victor Mateo early on the morning of Oct. 3, 2019, parked outside of Noelia Mateo’s house located on Ellsworth Avenue in Throgs Neck and waited for her to come outside. Noelia and their two grandchildren reportedly left the house a little before 7 a.m. as she was about to drive the kids to school.
When the three reached Noelia’s vehicle, Victor hit the gas and “struck her with his vehicle,” the DA’s office said. In an effort to avoid Victor, Noelia reportedly hid underneath her own car. Mateo reportedly got out of his car and got into Noelia’s, then he ran over her several more times.
Victor Mateo then got out of Noelia’s car, retrieved a machete from his car, then “hacked her with a machete” multiple times as the couple’s grandchildren watched the ordeal in horror, according to the DA’s office.
One of Noelia’s neighbors, David Colon, reportedly told New York’s ABC affiliate WABC-TV that he witnessed the latter attack as it unfolded.
“I heard a loud bang, I actually thought it was a gunshot,” Colon told the station. “I looked out my window and I saw a car struck another vehicle. I saw a man moving his car back and forth, and he got out. Then I heard a lady screaming, ‘Help her, help her, he’s is going to kill her.’…It turns out he was hitting her with a machete, and then I saw him take off.”
Colon reportedly said that he tried to help Noelia after Victor fled the scene, but he was too late.
“By the time I got down, she was in pretty bad shape and the cops ended up coming,” he reportedly said. “My heart dropped. Wish I could have done something. I did the best I could do. I called the cops.”
A joint investigation conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police, the NYPD, and the U.S. Marshals Service led to Victor being taken into custody approximately one week later in Hazelton Pennsylvania.
In addition to the first-degree manslaughter charge, Victor initially faced additional charges of second-degree murder, criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child. Those charges were dropped after his attorney reached a deal with prosecutors.
[imager via DCPI]
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