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Posted at 4:45 PM ET, 03/11/2011

Man gets 137 years in NW killing

By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post editors

A man convicted in the 2008 slaying of a Northwest Washington couple was sentenced on Friday to 137 years in prison, becoming the first of three killers to receive his punishment in the high-profile killing.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Michael L. Rankin imposed the sentence on Jose H. Portillo, 22. Portillo was convicted of 15 charges, including first-degree felony murder and second-degree murder after he and two friends brutalized and then beat and stabbed psychiatrist Michael Spevak, 68, and his wife Virginia, 67, during a burglary of their home in the 5300 block of Belt Road NW in Chevy Chase.

It was a crime that shocked the quiet, upper Northwest Washington neighborhood where the Spevaks were known as community activists who often took in foster children. They regularly hosted block parties at their home.

On Nov. 20, 2008, Portillo, along with Peiro Fuentes Hernandez, 23, and Angela Hernandez, 22, pushed their way into the Spevaks' home with the intention to burglarize the house. Once inside, according to testimony during the trial, Portillo, armed with a .38-caliber gun, and Angela Hernandez ordered Virginia Spevak, a retired teacher, to find items for them to steal.

They grabbed cameras, computers, computer disks, cash and other items. Peiro Hernandez, who testified for the prosecution at Portillo's trial, said he yanked two telephone cords out of the wall and handed them to Portillo, who tied Michael Spevak's hands behind his back and sat him on a sofa. Virginia Spevak's hands were tied to her ankle, just feet away from her husband with a gag over her mouth. The couple was then fatally stabbed and beaten.

Hernandez pleaded guilty in January 2009 to second-degree murder while armed. Angela Hernandez, no relation, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder while armed and burglary. They will be sentenced in May.

By Keith L. Alexander  | March 11, 2011; 4:45 PM ET
Categories:  From the Courthouse, Homicide, Keith L. Alexander, The District  
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Comments

Strange, but 137 years doesn't seem like enough for this P.O.S. Terrorizing him while bound, beating, stabbing and finally shooting him seems like the only fair thing to do. This, of course, is done while the other two suspects are forced to watch, and then ultimately receiving the same treatment. Losers.

Posted by: ANCLvr | March 11, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

137 years just sounds sooooooooooo long.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | March 11, 2011 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm happy for the sentence given that DC doesn't have the DP. The judge certainly did everything he could do. But watch this sentence get reduced on appeals. I will bet money this guy at least sees the inside of a parole board hearing before he receives God's justice.

Posted by: gbooksdc | March 12, 2011 12:39 AM | Report abuse

why isnt this scum being killed?

Posted by: slick3 | March 12, 2011 3:48 AM | Report abuse

All convicted killers in DC should get the same sentence! Every life is valuable no matter your status or where you live.

Posted by: lilahkelly | March 12, 2011 7:28 AM | Report abuse

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