EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — An El Paso man pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 17 years in prison for the death and decapitation of his mother in West El Paso in 2017.
Fernando Alarcon was initially facing murder charges in the April 20, 2017, death of his mother, Graciela Acosta Licon. A 2022 trial ended in a hung jury, and Judge Patrick Garcia declared a mistrial.
According to court documents, Licon was found dead and beheaded in her apartment in the 5600 block of Suncrest in West El Paso after police conducted a welfare check requested by family members who said they could not contact her for several days.
The medical examiner could not determine whether Licon was killed before or after Alarcon beheaded her.
Alarcon was later apprehended in La Mesa, New Mexico, the day after his mother was found dead in her apartment after a Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputy spotted his Jeep driving with a flat tire.
In the 2022 mistrial, Alarcon’s defense argued he had a mental illness. They also questioned whether Licon, ill and on dialysis at the time of her death, could have died from natural causes before the beheading.
The manslaughter plea did not carry a deadly weapon finding, allowing him to serve a quarter of his sentence before being eligible for parole. Alarcon will be credited for serving more than six years while awaiting trial, meaning he is immediately eligible for parole at the discretion of a state parole board.