CRIME
10/02/2014 12:34 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Carmen Montelongo, Woman Who Hid Boyfriend's Body Parts In Flower Pots, Sentenced

San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office

A California woman who hid the dismembered remains of her boyfriend in flower pots that she gave away on Mother's Day 2011 has been sentenced to 26 years to life in prison, prosecutors said.

"We are pleased that the jury saw the case for what it was -- a heinous crime -- and that justice was served for the victim and his family," San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney Erica Gallegos said in a news release.

According to Gallegos, Carmen Montelongo, a 54-year-old mother from Riverside, was convicted of first-degree murder in August, for the 2011 slaying of her long-time boyfriend, 62-year-old Samuel Wiggins.

Montelongo, who also goes by the name Carmen Montenegro, was arrested on May 21, 2011, when authorities caught her pushing a 30-gallon, wheeled trash can containing Wiggins' partially dismembered remains down a suburban street.

Detective Jeff Crittenden, of the City of Ontario Police Department, told The Huffington Post that concerned neighbors had contacted police and reported "either seeing the body [parts] or ... smelling [them]."

Authorities later found Wiggins' torso and legs buried at a residence where Montelongo once resided.

The case turned even more grisly when Wiggins' head and arms were found inside large flower pots. Montelongo, police said, had delivered the potted plants on Mother's Day to a relative living near Los Angeles.

"It's hard to comprehend," David Hidalgo, supervisor of the San Bernardino County district attorney's family violence unit, told The Associated Press in August 2011.

A subsequent investigation by police revealed that Wiggins was last seen alive in April 2011. The victim had been stabbed twice in the chest and 22 times in the back, police said.

Montelongo transported Wiggins' remains to the home of a relative she was living with and buried the parts she did not plant in a garden there.

At the time of her arrest, Montelongo had been moving the remains from the garden to another location.

Montelongo went on trial in August. On the 29th of that month, after three days of deliberations, a jury found her guilty of first-degree murder. Her 26-to-life sentence was handed down on Sept. 29.

Montenegro has maintained her innocence. A motive in the case remains unclear.

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