NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — It was a brutal attack in 2015. A Pasco County man killed his mother and 9-year-old niece.
Monday, he avoided a trial by pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
Jason Rios sat in a Pasco County courtroom as his sister and father both expressed regret over not helping him with his mental illness.
“I should have made your medication and I’m sorry,” said his sister Melissa.
Ernesto Rios said his family has a history of mental illness.
“I’m sorry my son. It was my fault too because I wasn’t looking into your condition because I was taking care of the kids and I was taking care of my wife,” he said.
Angela Rios was a double amputee.
Investigators say Jason used a tire iron to beat his mother to death.
And did the same to his niece, 9-year-old Jenica Randazzo.
The February 2015 standoff with the Pasco Sheriff’s SWAT team finally ended, when Rios seriously injured himself, using a drill bit and auger on his head.
He told Judge Mary Handsel he suffers from Schizophrenia.
She sentenced him to 50 years in prison.
“I can’t change things. I just want to say to the people is we need to look into mental health issues. People are having a lot of mental health problems. That we sometimes don’t see,” said Ernesto Rios.
But the grandmother of the 9-year-old who was killed says the family did know about Jason’s condition and didn’t do enough.
“As far as I am concerned everybody in that house was in danger and unfortunately my granddaughter was the one to suffer,” said Cynthia Star.
During the attack, Rios nearly killed another of his young nieces. She survived and is now in foster care.
The judge also recommended that Rios continues to get mental health treatment in prison.