Estranged husband who refused burial for late wife says, 'I'm not a monster.'
Fri, 14 Sep 2012 05:16:38 GMT —
Her life may have been cut short to cancer, but Patricia Vela-Pena's impact on people won't soon be forgotten.
It holds especially true for her estranged husband, Roman Pena, who says he did not keep her body from being buried to get his way.
"I TMm not a monster," he said.
Roman says he loved Patty.
School friends as kids, the two wed last February, 3 months before the 44-year-old TMs cancer diagnosis.
Patty's family claims Roman became abusive and left when she began hospice care at her parent's home.
"I did not abandon her," he claimed. "We moved into her house and then they kicked me out of the house."
When Patty died last Friday, the former Marine refused to sign over the body to be buried at Heavenly Grace Memorial Park in La Feria because he wanted her at a veterans cemetery.
Her family had already paid for the near $7,000 in funeral services at Heavenly Grace Memorial Park.
But without a divorce decree and a legally-binding living-will, Roman appeared to have the upper hand, just no money to move the funeral on his own, according to Patty TMs relatives.
"A lot of people probably don't like me right now because of how I was painted, but people who truly know me, know that I am not that way," he said.
Roman and her family have come to an agreement since the story first aired earlier this week on Action 4 News.
As part of the agreement, he TMs been told that a plot will be available for purchase next to Patty TMs.
The viewing while marked with a special movie and flowers is marred by the presence of security.
An off-duty La Feria police officer will be on hand for the 2-days worth of funeral services that end on Friday.
Funeral home administration thought it would be in the best interest of everyone to have police on hand just in case tensions should rise between the feuding families.
Marta Ortega, hopes her late niece will finally rest in peace.
"That's all we wanted," she said.
Roman says he got what he wanted as well.
"All I wanted was to be buried next to my wife, my sweetheart, my love," he said.