Houston Man Receives Two Life Sentences for 2020 Double Murder

Houston Man Receives Two Life Sentences for 2020 Double Murder

A Houston man who killed his ex-wife and her new boyfriend in 2020 over a custody dispute pleaded guilty to two counts of murder Wednesday in exchange for two life sentences, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.

“Domestic violence can have many different forms, and we see over and over again that it can easily escalate to murder, which why we take all allegations of abuse so seriously,” Ogg said. “In this case, a mom who was just trying to start a new life and her new boyfriend both lost their lives because a man with a gun got angry and started shooting.”

Leonardo Llanes, 51, pleaded guilty to shooting 27-year-old Iluminada Marrerro Perdoma and her boyfriend, 32-year-old Ernesto Carlos Aguilar Vasquez, at their apartment in southwest Houston on Nov. 25, 2020.

On the afternoon of the murder, which was the day before Thanksgiving, Llanes came home from work to his apartment where a family member was babysitting his elementary-school-aged son.

Llanes, who thought he would be spending the evening with his son, learned that his ex-wife planned to pick up the boy to take to her apartment, which was in a complex across the street where Llanes lived.

Apparently upset about the dispute over who had the boy that evening, Llanes walked to his ex-wife’s apartment and opened fire on her new boyfriend, Vasquez. Vasquez ran from the apartment with Llanes running after him, shooting. When that happened, his ex-wife closed and locked the apartment door to keep Llanes out.

Neighbors who heard the shooting began calling police. Surveillance video at the apartment complex shows Llanes shooting at Vasquez, hitting him in the back and then shooting him several more times in the parking lot, where he died.

Llanes then returned to the apartment and tried to shoot the lock to get through the door. When that failed, he shot through a window, breaking it, and got in to the apartment. His ex-wife had barricaded herself in the bathroom, and he shot through the door several times, killing her.

As officers with the Houston Police Department arrived in response to the calls about shots fired, they saw Llanes walking out of the apartment with the murder weapon and arrested him.

Assistant District Attorneys Stephany Abner and Steve Walsh, who are both chiefs in the Domestic Violence Division of the DA’s Office, prosecuted the case.

“This is a tragic case made even more tragic because the child at the center of the custody dispute is left without his mother or his father because of his father’s actions,” Abner said. “Too often, children are collateral damage to the arguments between their parents. We all know that co-parenting is difficult—relationships are difficult—but people need to think about the consequences for the children.”

She noted that Houston’s close-knit Cuban population was deeply affected by the incident because Llanes, his ex-wife and her boyfriend, along with most of the neighbors who witnessed the crime, were all from Cuba.                                                                                                    

On Wednesday, Llanes was on the eve of trial and facing life in prison without parole if he had been convicted of capital murder for killing two people. By pleading guilty to both murder charges, the 51-year-old will eligible for parole in 30 years.

The plea agreement ensures that the couple’s son and other family members will not have to testify, and Llanes cannot appeal the conviction or the prison sentence.