MINDEN - A 36-year-old South Lake Tahoe man pleaded guilty to killing his estranged girlfriend with a knife and a hammer, but he said she cut him first.
Ramiro Galicia is set for sentencing June 4.
In exchange for the guilty plea, the District Attorney's Office agreed to drop the death penalty.
Galicia pleaded guilty before District Judge Michael Gibbons on Monday to first degree murder in violation of an extended order for protection against domestic violence.
The victim, Jazmin Gonzalez, 22, was killed Nov. 19, 2006, by Galicia who authorities said had been hiding in a closet in a room she was cleaning at the Horizon Casino Resort.
The murder occurred about three weeks after Gonzalez obtained a year's extension to a restraining order against Galicia which she obtained Oct. 24, 2006.
Speaking through court interpreter Chris Houghton, Galicia said he understood the charge.
"I understand it very well," Galicia said. "I accept it because it's true."
He faces life in prison without parole at his sentencing. He also could be sentenced to life in prison or 50 years in prison with chance of parole after 20 years.
The temporary protection order enhancement adds five years to the sentence.
"Did you cause the death of Jazmin Gonzalez?" Gibbons asked.
"Yes, I caused it," Galicia replied.
Galicia denied that the murder was planned and that he attempted to kidnap the victim, had been lying in wait for her, or held her against her will.
"None of those things are true," he said. "It wasn't planned or anything like that."
"Did you hit her with the hammer?" Gibbons asked.
"Yes," he said.
"Did you stab her with the knife?" Gibbons said.
After conferring with Galicia, Young said his client was cut first with the knife by Gonzalez.
"What he will tell you is that initially he had an argument. He was cut in that argument and became angry," Young said. "The wounds on Jazmin occurred after that. When he became angry, he lost control."