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Man sentenced to 40 years for murdering woman trying to leave relationship

A 42-year-old man who murdered a woman as she tried to end their relationship has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.

“We know all too well that domestic violence can continue to escalate until someone is killed, which is what happened in this case,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “The most dangerous time in a relationship is when a victim is trying to leave an abuser.”

Ricardo Olivarez shot Linda Cardona, 40, during an Oct. 15, 207 altercation at the Atascocita home where they had lived together for about three years.

The case was featured in a Houston Chronicle investigation about bail reform. The front-page article noted that Olivarez had pleaded guilty two years after the slaying, then withdrew that plea, and was freed on bail by the court until his case could be resolved.

Olivarez was sentenced by a judge on Thursday after being convicted of murder in a week-long jury trial.

“He pulled out a pistol and shot her to death because she was leaving him,” said Assistant District Attorney Robert Buss, the prosecutor who handled the case. “This was no accident. He shot her in the center of her forehead.”

Cardona worked for an after-hours phone answering service. She had two children from a prior relationship.

The case was investigated by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.