REDWOOD CITY -- Jesusa Tatad was called vile, hateful, selfish and urged to seek divine mercy Friday before being sentenced to 16 years to life in prison for murdering her ex-husband by dousing him with boiling water as he slept.
Tatad dropped her head and wept, dabbing her eyes with a tissue in her shackled hands, when San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Robert Foiles handed down the sentence. It came about a month after she pleaded no contest to the second-degree murder of her former husband Ronnie Tatad, 36, during a jealous rage over another woman.
Dozens of family members -- from her and her husband's families -- fought back tears as Ronnie Tatad's sister, Lilibeth Estes, of Ohio, described the permanent stain the tragedy had left on her.
"I developed a phobia of water," said Estes. "Even steam coming from the pans makes me shiver."
After calling Tatad vengeful, vile and selfish, Estes urged her to seek a supreme pardon.
"I hope you start praying for God to have mercy on your soul," Estes said. "We want to see that you are punished to the fullest extent of the law."
Except for her tears, 41-year-old Tatad didn't respond to the words of her former sister-in-law. However, defense attorney John May said his client had caused the death of the only man she ever loved, the father of their two young daughters.
"Mrs. Tatad is no monster," he said. "She wishes deeply she could change the outcome of her rash act."
Though the couple divorced in December 2007, they continued to share a small apartment in Daly City. Deputy district attorney Morris Maya said Ronnie was asleep in bed Nov. 26, 2011, when Jesusa Tatad tore back the covers and doused him with a pot of boiling water.
Defense attorney May said Ronnie Tatad had promised to remarry his client, but years went by and instead of keeping his word, he became involved with other women. Jesusa had walked in on him with another woman in their apartment just two weeks before the attack. May said his client finally snapped.
Ronnie Tatad died about two weeks later in a hospital due to a blood infection brought on by the burns, which covered about 55 percent of his body, prosecutors said. The burns left his head swollen up like a "basketball" and his skin oozing, said Estes, the victim's sister.
In the moments after the scalding he raced from the apartment and was found soaking wet, hysterical and half-naked, hiding behind a car. He became even more upset when Jesusa approached. Ronnie Tatad begged police to keep her away from him and she admitted to the scalding, police said.
But as officers prepared to handcuff her, Ronnie Tatad pleaded with police not to arrest her, according to court testimony.
Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.