A man strangled his two sons in the South Florida home of his estranged wife, telling her she would live to suffer from the pain of their deaths before he shot himself.
Victoria Flores Zavala unsuccessfully fought to save her 12- and 11-year-old sons from Isidro Zavala, the Palm Beach Post reported. She offered to sacrifice herself if he'd spare the boys, but she couldn't stop him early Saturday morning.
“She said, ‘Why won’t you kill me?’ He said, ‘No, you’re going to live with this," according to Boynton Beach Police Chief Matthew Immler.
The violence began around 2 a.m. when Victoria was roused from watching television by a loud noise, the Associated Press said. She came upon her spouse choking one of the children.
Cops found the body of Eduardo, 12, strangled in the patio area of the house. 11-year-old Marco's body was found strangled and shot in the dining area.
"This is an unusually brutal type of murder," Immler said.
The couple had been married for 20 years when Victoria filed for divorce in October, according to CBS Miami. Police said there was no history of domestic violence calls to their home where the murders took place.
Police ascertained that Zavala, 45, planned the murder for days. In the apartment he rented, they found a bag stuffed with a semi-automatic handgun, cutting shears, duct tape and a note to the couple's eldest son, who was not present during the killings, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
Zavala owned a landscaping business and was described as a devoted, yet demanding father. He was regularly in the stands at his sons' Little League baseball games, but removed Eduardo from his team to make him focus on school.
The oldest son Emanuel, 19, said he'd visited his father on Friday and invited him to watch the Super Bowl with him, according to NBC News.
"He was not a bad man," Emanuel said, according to NBC. "He was always a hard worker, trying to give us the best life he could."