"When you tell the police your son is being stalked, they should do something to protect him."
These are the words of a grief stricken mother who feels enough was not done by police to protect her 22 year-old son from the blade of the stalker that killed him on Aug. 31.
Becki Rico, mother of Cerritos College student, Anthony Rico, tries to be strong as she recounts the events that led up to her son's murder.
On that fateful Friday, while her son was alone in the family's house doing homework, Brandon Pacheco, a young man whom the family had known for approximately 17 years entered their home, overpowered Anthony, and brutally stabbed him to death.
"I had four sons, now I only have three," Rico painfully said of the tragedy.
The only female in a house full of men - husband Jesse and her three remaining sons, ages 25, 19 and 15 -- who are trying to do what men do, be tough, Rico does her best to comfort her them, and keep their spirits up with hugs, words of encouragement, and love, while she tries to remain strong as well.
Rico says she constantly asked police to patrol her neighborhood more, but she feels like her pleas went unanswered.
Hostilities toward Rico had been growing for some time in Pacheco, but the boiling point came in March when the two young men happened to run into each other at the home of mutual friend Thomas Marino.
According to a subsequent police report on the incident, Pacheco threatened the lives of Rico, his mother and his father.
Marino described Pacheco as "flipped out on drugs."
After he "went off," Marino says he took him outside and asked him what was going on.
"I don't know, I just (expletive) hate him, I hate his brother, and his family." Pacheco said to Marino.
It wasn't the first time Pacheco had threatened someone.
According to Rico, he had been arrested for threatening the owner of a Union 76 gas station, and Marino said he had also been arrested "a couple of times for pulling a shotgun on his mother."
She had to get a restraining order out on him.
As a result of the March incident at Marino's house, Rico said Pacheco "only got a slap on the wrist."
The Rico family was in the process of trying to obtain a restraining order against Pacheco at the time of the murder.
Rico says that because of the fear Pacheco had his family living under, she tried to get his mother to commit him. "I tried to get his mother to put him away, I tried to get the cops to put him away, I tried to get somebody to do something, but nobody did."
A Sheriffs spokesman said they get several reports of threats on people's lives a day, and that it is "overwhelming" for them. "It's amazing how many of these threats are made," the spokesman said.
Anthony's father said, "I'm going to miss him, miss him a lot. He was a good boy. He would go out of his way to help anybody."
He said that the two weeks before his son's death had been special because he had been spending more time than usual at home. Two nights before the attack, the two of them spent hours together marinating a pig they were going to roast on Labor Day.
Rico was a young man who had many interests, and they kept him away from home a lot.
"He loved film," his mother said. "He especially loved Martin Scorsese films.
He would make me sit down and watch gangster movies with him. . . . Once, for a class project, everyone had to make a one minute video, but Anthony made his a 10 minute video," Rico said proudly.
He was attending Cerritos in hopes of one day breaking into the filmmaking business.
At Cerritos, Anthony took classes like Motion Picture Production and Acting.
Rico could have been called a renaissance man. He had experience in photography, auto maintenance, welding, acting and architectural drafting. The family's youngest son, Raymond, is a best friend with Pacheco's younger brother, yet despite the tragedy that has befallen the Rico family, they hold no grudges against the Pacheco family.
Rico said, after the murder members of her family told the younger Pacheco "not to feel guilty, that it was not his fault, he's still part of our family."
Rico met his killer 17 years earlier, when at the age of six his family moved to the Whittier street they still live on.
In a paper his mother found after the murder, he recounted the stormy relationship he had with his future murderer, during the course of his life.
In the paper, Anthony wrote that their friendship wasn't a very good one for long.
On one particular occasion, Pacheco wanted to fight, so his cousin "obliged him," and proceeded to beat Pacheco up.
"That took a bit of his pride, [and] from that moment on, Brandon displayed sporadic outbursts of animosity toward my brothers and me." Anthony wrote.
She feels that Pacheco's animosity toward her son might have come from jealousy that there was always a family atmosphere at her house; something she says was missing at Pacheco's house.
Anthony wrote. "Oh well, he probably missed out on the best friend he could have ever had."
Approximately 400 friends attended Rico's funeral.
His aunt read a poem that Rico had only recently wrote that moved many at the church to tears.
One of the versus read: "What are my words? Hopeful, positive, recognition. Thoughts of inspiration when pondered and reflected upon. A provider of comfort in the uncomfortable hour of life."
At the wake Marino went up to say a few words about his friend Rico. The last few words were, "He was simply the best."