DECATUR, Ala. (TCD) -- A 21-year-old man pleaded guilty Monday to killing his 16-year-old girlfriend in 2019.
According to WAFF-TV, Bernandino Matias entered a blind plea in Morgan County court, therefore admitting his guilt but not agreeing to the state’s terms in the case.
On Oct. 24, 2019, Decatur Police Department officers responded to a disturbance call in the 200 block of Bluebird Lane SW. They located a deceased individual and later identified the victim as 16-year-old Tania Rico, a student at Austin High School.
Decatur Police confirmed a firearm was not used in the crime.
The day after the fatal incident, Decatur Police identified Matias, who was 19 at the time, as the suspect. He was located in Knoxville, Tennessee, and arrested on murder charges, according to police. He was then extradited back to Alabama.
According to WAFF, Matias reportedly confessed to the crime.
Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson told WAFF there was "evidence that the victim was going to end the relationship."
Anderson added, "We also, through talking to the defendant, Decatur PD talking to him at the time of his confession, he said that the victim had disrespected him and his family."
WAAY-TV reports Rico and Matias had been in a relationship for about three years. The Morgan County Coroner determined Rico died from sharp force trauma to her neck as well as stab wounds.
According to WAFF, Anderson will request Matias receive life in prison with the possibility of parole. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 12.