‘I deserve to have closure’: Mother wants justice for daughter’s murder

Published: Mar. 14, 2019 at 8:46 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It has been more than two years since 52-year-old Janice Lugo’s life was taken. Her boyfriend at the time of almost five years, Kristopher Jones, is accused of her murder.

“I want people to know that she does have somebody that cries for her and loves her unconditionally,” Lugo’s mother, Aida DeCosta-Gomez, said. “She was sunshine, when she smiled she radiated.”

Decosta-Gomez says the last two years have been full of suffering as she misses her daughter and waits for justice.

“It’s been torture. There’s not a day I don’t think about that girl,” said said.

Jones is charged with capital murder, accused of killing Lugo, as well as 76 year-old Minnie Woodard, the wife of a Petersburg pastor, in January 2017.

“I am truly sorry for them, I understand their pain,” DeCosta-Gomez said.

No trial date has been set in the case. Tuesday, there was a motions hearing, which ended with Jones’ defense team requesting at least two more hearings until the case can move forward and a trial date can be set.

“It breaks my heart to see the condition and the things that are going on with this trial,” she said. “This trial has been drawn out. It has made the families of the victims suffer.”

Jones appeared in Petersburg circuit court Tuesday afternoon. During a motions hearing, Jones’ attorneys presented several motions to the judge, including a motion to dismiss the death penalty, which was denied. The 90-minute hearing ended with the decision to hold at least two more hearings before a trial date could be set. The next hearing is scheduled for June.

“I’m mad at myself because I have forgiven him,” said DeCcosta-Gomez. “If he lives, he will remember what he did to Minnie Woodard and he will remember the girl who did everything good and not good to make sure he had food to eat and clothes on his back.”

Decosta Gomez said Lugo was intelligent and charitable. She is often reminded of her daughter’s laugh and smile.

“She was a good-hearted human being, and that’s how I want her remembered,” she said. “Janice was a feisty, loving, kind young lady who would give the shirt off her back to help anyone.”

In her home are several photos of her daughter. DeCcosta-Gomez admits that many days are hard to get through thinking about her daughter’s life ending too soon, but she tries her best to find glimpses of good to hold onto, while she waits for the closure she is seeking.

“I have to ask God everyday to give me the peace," DeCosta-Gomez said.

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