ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque man who killed his fiancé was sentenced Thursday to 12 years in prison.

Francisco Montoya killed 35-year-old Nicole Robbins’ at an apartment complex near Tramway and Montgomery in November 2018. Robbins was a preschool teacher and mother of a 13-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son.

Montoya initially claimed Robbins was drunk and he found her dead. He later admitted he got physical with her and she hit her head. He then left the apartment and when she came back, she was dead.

At sentencing, both her family and Montoya spoke.

“To lose a child in such a brutal, horrible way is something I have not been able to comprehend and neither has my family,” said Maurine Robbins, the victim’s mother.

“There is not a word in this world to express how sorry I feel,” said Montoya.

Robbins’ family says both Robbins and Montoya struggled with alcohol and they had worked to get them help. Montoya pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and faced a maximum of 15 years in prison.