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CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – Believing that her family would not be able to survive if she were to die of cancer, the then 41-year-old Filipino American mother, Annamaria Magno Gana, decided to shoot and kill her husband and their two other children so they would all “go together.”

Mrs. Gana, now 43, managed to kill her husband, Antonio Potenciano Gana, 72, a retired general manager of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, and shot her then 16-year-old son, who sustained injury in the arm and survived. But her nine-year-old son managed to wrestle the gun away from her and escaped injury during a Mother’s Day afternoon on May 8, 2011. Mrs. Gana was said to have undergone double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Mrs. Gana was sentenced Thursday (June 20) by Judge Francisco P. Briseno of the Orange County Superior Court in Sta. Ana, California to 40 years to life in state prison for the murder of her husband and for attempted murder of her two children inside their family home in Tustin, California.

A press statement issued by Farrah Emami, spokesperson of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, said that before the sentencing, several family members presented impact statements to the court.

The victim’s son, identified only as John Doe #1, told his mother that he loves her and misses his father and wishes that his mother could be there to see his younger brother grow up.

“Losing a father is inevitable, but losing him in this manner is unbearable,” Carmelia Gana, daughter of the victim, also said.

“My brothers not only lost their father, they lost everything they had. A home, a family, and the life they once had. From here we can all try to start to move on with hope for forgiveness, peace, and love in our hearts.” Jose Gana, another son of the victim, also said.

“I asked [Antonio] to plan a trip back to Manila in December for hunting season. I never realized that we would never be going hunting together again. … He loved [Annamaria] and gave up a comfortable life for her and his boys to start over in the US, but she never appreciated this. She just shot him like a dog on the street.” Jose Benedicto, son-in-law of the victim, said.

Mrs. Gana was found guilty by a jury last April 3, 2013, of one felony count each of special circumstances murder by lying in wait, two felony counts of attempted murder, and sentencing enhancements for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death and the personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury.

On Thursday, she was sentenced of count one for second degree murder for 15 years to life with parole; count one for use of firearm, for 25 years to life without parole to be served consecutively; count two for attempted murder for life without parole to be served concurrently; count two for use of firearm for 25 years to life without parole to be served consecutively; and count three for attempted murder for life without parole to be served concurrently.

Ms. Emami said the Court also ordered Mrs. Gana to pay $5,000 for the funeral expenses and may later address restitution for the expenses of the family members.

It was about 4:30 p.m. on May 8, 2011, when Mrs. Gana armed with a firearm fired a shot into the ceiling of a bedroom in their home. When her husband, Antonio Potenciano Gana, and their 16-year-old son John Doe #1 ran into the bedroom to find out about the gunshot, she turned the firearm toward her husband, and said, “Now,” and shot him pointblank in the chest.

Mrs. Gana later went after her two sons. She shot John Doe #1 as he turned and attempted to escape from the bedroom, hitting him in the arm. He managed to rush out of the home and called 911 on his cell phone. Her nine-year-old son John Doe #2, who witnessed the shooting, was able to wrestle the gun away from her and took the gun outside.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department, who investigated the case, arrived at the scene and arrested Gana. She was brought to the hospital for treatment for minor injuries sustained while shooting the firearm.

The defendant’s sons were placed in the care of a family member.

During the jury trial, Mrs. Gana acknowledged pulling the trigger. But her defense lawyer argued that she should not be found guilty because of her mental state or illness as she did not have the capacity to plan this type of murder.

“This loss has made me worried for my two half-brothers, who have to grow up without both their father and mother. Questions flood my mind, like how will they cope emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, mentally, physically, and financially? Who will guide them? How will they survive? How will they cope with the trauma? What will become of their lives? ” Maria Gana, daughter of the victim, said.

“He would never forget birthdays, Valentine’s Day, even Mother’s Day. My dad was truly a man with a big heart.” Rosette Benedicto, daughter of the victim, said.

“He gave unconditionally. I am 100 percent sure he had many more years to live, and much more love to share.” Geoffrey Balagtas, son-in-law of the victim, said.

“I felt safe around him. I knew that he would protect me. My friends knew this too, and he was a father figure to many of them. He was a shoulder for them to cry on, and he willingly provided support. Plainly, he was just someone you could count on to be there for you, no matter what.” Maria Balagtas, daughter of the victim, said.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case. Defense lawyer Michael Kevin Cernvar did not return calls of this reporter for comment on the sentence or if was filing an appeal. ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )