FAIRFAX, VA – A Virginia man, who mistakenly killed a woman believing her to be his ex-girlfriend, has been found guilty of first-degree murder. Richard Montano, 48, was convicted on Thursday for the brutal murder of Silvia “Kelly” Vaca Abacay, 40, which took place on August 10, 2022.
Montano, in a horrific act of violence, stabbed Abacay multiple times and inflicted severe blunt-force trauma injuries on her face, head, and neck. The gruesome details of the attack were revealed during the trial, with prosecutors stating that Montano “quite literally went for the jugular.” Following the brutal assault, Montano set Abacay’s apartment on fire.
Fairfax County Commonwealth Attorney Steve Descano, who has seen numerous crime scenes throughout his career, described the images from this case as some of the most disturbing he has ever encountered. The brutality of the murder shocked even seasoned law enforcement officials.
Abacay was a guest at the home of her close friend Via Rojas, who had ended an eight-year relationship with Montano just a month prior to the murder. According to Descano, a Ring doorbell camera captured Montano entering the apartment multiple times without Rojas’ knowledge in the weeks leading up to the murder.
On the day of the murder, a neighbor made multiple 911 calls after hearing screams and loud noises from the apartment. The chilling 911 call, which captured Abacay’s pleas for help, was played during the trial. The brutal attack lasted for 15 minutes, leaving the apartment in a state of carnage.
When first responders arrived at the scene, they were met with a cloud of smoke billowing from the apartment. Inside, they found Abacay’s body, which had been set on fire. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to save her, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Abacay, a beloved wife and mother of two teenagers, is remembered by her friend Jose Luis Landivar as a joyful, helpful person who was loved by many. Her death has left her family and friends heartbroken.
While acknowledging that the conviction cannot bring Abacay back, Descano expressed hope that it would provide the first step towards healing for the victim’s family. Montano is set to be sentenced on January 19, 2024, and faces a life sentence.