NEW LONDON, Conn. — A man, who accepted a plea deal in the 2018 Niantic stabbing death of his girlfriend, was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Thursday. And the victim's family hopes this tragedy serves as a warning for others experiencing domestic violence.
The parents of the victim, Corina Rodriguez, 25, said they're still upset that Avery Hallbrooks, who was the victim's boyfriend, was allowed to reject two plea deal offers before accepting a third.
"Avery Halbrooks is a coward," said a sobbing Phil Rodriguez, the victim's father. "He shook this family to its core."
In July, Hallbrooks, now 32, accepted a plea deal to serve 40 years in prison. Had he gone to trial, the judge told him, if convicted, he could receive up to 87 years.
"As your honor is aware the victim in this case, Corina, was only 25 years old when she was fatally stabbed 47 times in the neck, hands, chest and body by her boyfriend," said Heather Rodriguez, the victim's mother.
Corina's parents, on their way home from a vacation the night she was killed, said she planned to leave Hallbrooks that night and he knew it.
"When you're planning on leaving, get help first," Heather Rodriguez said. "Don't just leave. We weren't home yet and she tried to do it on her own and he made sure that didn't happen."
The killing took place in the couple's motel room at Niantic's Starlight Inn, which has since been demolished. And Corina's father said looking back he should've paid closer attention to some signs.
"She was little by little disappearing from the dining room table, from gatherings," said Phil Rodriguez. "He took her away little by little."
Corina was the mother of three young boys when she was killed. Her youngest son, whose father is Hallbrooks, was just a year old at the time of her death.
"But if you ask who mommy is, he points to heaven or his heart or a picture and he knows who she is," Heather Rodriguez said.
Heather Rodriguez also noted her daughter was 16 weeks pregnant the night she was murdered.
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