NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- In a fiery courtroom faceoff, a heartbroken mother lashed out at the sentencing of the monster who brutally raped and killed her daughter.
CBS 2's Pablo Guzman was in the Queens courtroom as the woman confronted the killer through a translator.
"Come back my daughter! My only child!" the mother said.
Even the most hardened courtroom observers were wiping their eyes. The mother, Guihua Yu, had traveled from a remote part of China to confront Carlos Cruz, 29, the man who beat, raped and killed her daughter last May.
Guihua Yao said her 23-year-old daughter, Yu Yao, had just arrived in the land of her dreams – America.
"You beast! You have destroyed our lives!" she said.
Then, Judge Richard Buchter tore into Cruz.
"You violated her in the most horrific and disgusting ways," he said.
Judge Buchter told Guihua Yao during the sentencing that he would have wanted to grant her request for a stiffer sentence, but that his hands were tied. He gave Cruz 22 years to life, but said Cruz deserved the death penalty.
"We had torture, we had sex crimes – you heard the sentencing," Judge Buchter said, admitting that he was affected by Guihua's words. "I really had a hard time keeping it together."
At one point, Yu Yao's mother said said that she had a dream – that her daughter came to her, but her face was all bloodied, and she was standing at the location of the murder. She had never been there, but she later visited the scene of the crime, and she said it looked the same – except that her daughter will never come to her again.
Judge Buchter rebuked Cruz's lawyer in court when the lawyer said Cruz had no prior criminal history. The judge said Cruz is scheduled to appear in Manhattan for a sexual assault charge next month.
Cruz offered an apology for the murder that fell flat in the courtroom, reports CBS 2's Derricke Dennis.
"First of all, I would like to ask for 1,000 times to forgive me for all of the pain," he said through an interpreter.
"It doesn't matter how much he apologizes, he can't return my daughter back," Guihua Yao said, through her translator, outside the courtroom.
Outside court, members of the Chinese American community surrounded the grieving mother.
In many ways, the 23-year-old immigrant, moving to the U.S. and full of hope, symbolized the promise of the American dream – a promise shattered by one callous act.
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