Man Sentenced for Killing Girlfriend with Samurai Sword

September 14, 2011 Updated Sep 14, 2011 at 7:56 PM EDT

By John Borsa

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September 14, 2011 Updated Sep 14, 2011 at 7:56 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - The crime horrified residents on Buffalo's West Side.

A woman and mother was brutally attacked by her estranged boyfriend, who admitted to killing the woman with a samurai sword.

Juan Castro, 63, pleaded guilty to the crime a few months ago and this morning he was sentenced by State Supreme Court Justice M. William Boller to 20-years-to-life behind bars.

Castro will be in his 80's when he is eligible for parole.

Maria Pagan, 45, was killed. Her daughter, 15-year-old Zayra Pagan, was injured when she tried to come to her mother's aid.

Zayra and her older brother chose not to be in court for the sentencing.

"He took their mother, provider. Their rock upon which they were going to help build their own lives," said prosecutor Gary Hackbush.

"He apologized," said Castro's defense attorney Nelson Torre.

"He made a decision to accept full responsibility for what he did and the judge has imposed a sentence accordingly," Torre said.

Castro told the judge that he "lost his mind" last January when he stabbed Pagan at the couple's Normal Avenue home.