A 22-year-old Santa Rosa man spurned by the woman whose name he tattooed on his chest told friends he wanted to kill her a month before attacking her in a parking lot, nearly choking and stabbing her to death.
Miguel Angel Ruiz-Figueroa was apparently overcome by jealousy when he found out the 19-year-old woman he was in love with had returned to her old boyfriend and didn't want to see him anymore, according to a probation report.
So on the night of Sept. 10 last year, he confronted her in the parking lot of a Taylor View Drive apartment, where he threw her to the ground, sat on her chest and strangled her with one hand while stabbing her with the other.
She later told police she couldn't breathe or scream but managed to scratch Ruiz-Figueroa's neck before blacking out.
The woman was discovered less than an hour later by a mother and her young son who heard moaning and saw a pair of boots sticking out from between parked cars.
She assumed it was a drunk person until she illuminated the area with her cellphone and saw a woman on the ground covered in blood.
The woman had four stab wounds to the liver, three to the heart and one to her left exterior jugular vein, the report said.
Miraculously, she survived and spoke Thursday at Ruiz-Figueroa's sentencing hearing, where he received consecutive terms of nine years plus 7-to-life in prison.
She said the attack changed her life but at the same time expressed forgiveness.
"As time goes by, I would want Miguel to know that it was not easy, but I found it in my heart to forgive him," she said in court. "I will never forget, but I have to remain strong and hopeful that life will only get better from here on out."
The punishment was part of a plea bargain in which he admitted counts of attempted murder and kidnapping. He faced a maximum of 12 years plus 7-to-life.
The woman told police Ruiz-Figueroa was a longtime family friend who pestered her to date him and was "controlling."
She was bothered by his habit of carrying a "butterfly knife" and this threats to harm himself if she wouldn't see him, she said.
Three days before the attack she said he hounded her about their relationship. When told him she didn't want to be with him, he said "get ready for the worst."
His friends also told police about threatening statements. One said Ruiz-Figueroa threatened to "take her out" so she couldn't date someone else.
Ruiz-Figueroa bragged he would be "smart" about it so he wouldn't get caught.
"Trust me, I'll get away with it," the friend told police Ruiz-Figueroa said.
He later admitted the attack. Prosecutors said he lured her out her boyfriend's apartment with text messages, dragged her behind a parked car and strangle her.
When asked by police why he stopped and left the scene, Ruiz-Figueroa responded: "Because it's not a good thing."
(You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)