Man Mistakenly Kills the Wrong Woman

( – A jury in Virginia’s Fairfax County has seconded assertions from prosecutors who hypothesized that the 2022 slaying of 40-year-old Silvia “Kelly” Abacay was a brutal case of mistaken identity.

On October 5th, jurors found 48-year-old Richard Montano guilty of her murder, though they conceded that Montano had inadvertently substituted her for who he thought was his ex-girlfriend.

According to prosecutors, Montano dug his legal hole even deeper once he realized he had murdered the wrong woman. After beating and stabbing Abacay to death, he set her body on fire and fled the scene. Officials indicated that Montano was easy to identify and track down because he appeared on surveillance footage at the residence several times.

At the time of the murder, Abacay had been temporarily living in the apartment of Via Rojas, who happened to be her friend. Rojas reportedly dated Montano for a little less than a decade before choosing to end the relationship in July 2022. About a month later, Abacay was murdered at the apartment Rojas was renting.

In the month preceding the murder, authorities said that Montano was regularly accessing the apartment without either occupant’s knowledge. His last reported entrance into the residence, which was captured on a Ring camera, took place 10 days prior to Abacay’s execution.

According to the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Montano entered the apartment on August 10th, 2022, under the impression that Rojas, his ex-lover, was its only occupant. After his intrusion, prosecutors said he mistook Abacay for Rojas, whom he proceeded to assault. An autopsy presented at trial showed that Abacay had been brutally beaten and stabbed at least 10 times.

While Montano was in the midst of the assault, a neighbor heard Abacay’s screams and called 911. In the tape, which prosecutors played for the jury, Silvia could be heard screaming and pleading for her life.

At his January sentencing, Montano will face the possibility of life in prison.

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