A California man pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder after killing his 5-year-old son three months ago following a trip to Disneyland, PEOPLE confirms.
Aramazd Andressian Sr., 35, appeared in California’s Alhambra Superior Court before Judge Cathryn F. Brougham and admitted murdering his son, Aramazd Andressian Jr., in late April not long after they visited Disneyland.
Aramazd’s mother, Ana Estevez, was present for Tuesday’s hearing and brought a small white urn with her, containing her son’s ashes, a court official tells PEOPLE.
Andressian is scheduled to be sentenced to 25 years to life on Aug. 23. Authorities believe killed his son to punish Estevez during volatile divorce proceedings.
After the hearing, prosecutor Craig Hum told reporters the murder was “horribly tragic.” Andressian’s attorney, Ambrosio Rodriguez, also spoke outside the courthouse and maintained that his client did not plan what he called an “awful crime.”
Said Rodriguez: “He is beyond words in regretting having committed such an act.”
Messages left with him and with prosecutors were not immediately returned on Wednesday.
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Andressian’s son was last seen on April 20, when he left the theme park with his father and other relatives around midnight. Authorities suspect he was killed shortly after disappearing.
His body was found last month near Cachuma Lake in Santa Barbara County, California — not long after his father was detained for his murder. On Tuesday, Andressian’s attorney said his client had directed investigators to his son’s remains.
Aramazd’s mother, Ana Estevez, reported him missing the day after Andressian failed to show up for a planned custody exchange. Andressian was found unconscious that same day at a park in South Pasadena, California.
Police have alleged that the inside of Andressian’s car was doused with gasoline and there were matches in his vehicle. He reportedly told authorities at the time that he had fallen unconscious after taking medication, and police suspect he was trying to fatally overdose.
Last month, a memorial service for the boy was attended by hundreds of mourners.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Estevez read a letter to her son during the service. She said she was living under an “eternal shadow of devastation and emptiness” now that he’s gone.
“There is no denying you were an extraordinary boy,” she said, the paper reports.