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Man gets life without parole for Christmas Eve shooting of estranged wife

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who gunned down his estranged wife on Christmas Eve 2007 as she drove into the parking lot of her boyfriend's El Cajon apartment complex was sentenced Monday to life in prison without parole, plus 25 years to life.

Mychal Reed, 47, was convicted last year of first-degree murder, lying in wait and personal use of a weapon in the death of 44-year-old Rosa Reed, a mother to two.

The defendant -- who is deaf in at least one ear -- blamed his actions on a combination of factors, including being abused by his mother.

"I'm sorry for taking my life's hurts and pains out on your loved one," Reed told the victim's family. "She did not deserve this type of ending."

Reed said the victim was a "loving mother" to her two sons. He made a special apology to her 18-year-old son, Jordan Argueta.

"I know how much pain I've caused him," the defendant said.

Before sentencing, Judge Louis Hanoian denied Reed's motion for a new trial, based on various claims, including ineffective assistance of counsel.

Hanoian said the defendant came up from behind and shot the victim eight times, including several shots to the head. Reed had borrowed the murder weapon from a friend and lied about it, the judge said.

The victim had taken out a restraining order against the defendant and had told others that she feared he would kill her, the judge said.

Reed said they were getting along and were trying to reconcile at the time he killed his wife.

El Cajon police Officer Thomas Winslow testified last year that Rosa Reed told him a month before the shooting that her husband went to her workplace at Sycuan Casino and threatened to kill her.

She also showed the officer a text message in which the defendant threatened to kill her, Winslow said.

The victim said that when she told her husband she was seeing another man, "he responded with 'you're hurting me and I'm going to kill you,"' Winslow testified.

Deputy District Attorney C.J. Mody told the judge today that the "arrogant" Reed killed his wife because he couldn't come to grips with the realities in his own life.

Reed, who is black, said he was subjected to racism and discrimination during his years as a government aircraft mechanic.

Argueta -- in a letter read by a relative because he could not compose himself -- said Reed should be put to death for taking his mother's life.

He called the defendant a "careless, heartless monster."

"My heart is broken into a million pieces," he wrote.