The playboy billionaire who murdered the heiress of an American restaurant Gabriela Kabrins Alban in a horrifyingly violent murder in 2015 was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday.
Diego Novella Doughterty, 44, strangled the 39-year-old woman in a luxury hotel room in Cape Town after drugging in July 2015.
The Guatemalan playboy told prosecutors that he thought she was the "devil" and that he attacked with drug-induced fury.
He strangled her, then mutilated her corpse, put chocolates in her throat, burned her genitals with a pincer and defecated on her face after she lost consciousness.
His body soaked in blood was found in the villa of the hotel they were renting at Camps Bay Retreat.
Diego Novella, 44, (left in 2017) was sentenced to 20 years behind bars in South Africa on Thursday for the brutal murder of 39-year-old American heiress Gabriella Kabrins Alban whom he killed in 2015
Novella was convicted earlier this summer and sentenced on Thursday. It is unclear why he was not sentenced to life imprisonment, and his lawyer says he now plans to appeal.
In pronouncing his sentence on Thursday, Judge Vincent Saldhana said the term would have been shorter if Novella had not mutilated his girlfriend's body after killing her.
"The deliberate desecration of the body of the deceased by the accused and his gratuitous humiliation of it abound as a serious aggravating factor," he said.
When he was found guilty, the judge called him "evil" and said he wished him "a long life in prison".
She is the daughter of Howdy Kabrins, who founded the Tex-Mex La Salsa restaurant chain. After his murder, he moved to South Africa to ensure that justice was done.
The couple was staying at this $ 1,300-a-night villa at Camp s Bay Retreat in Cape Town when Novella, who belongs to one of the wealthiest families in South America, attacked his girlfriend in a drug-induced fury and left her body in the bathroom
Novella had been taking cannabis and sceletium the night of the murder. He told police he mistook his girlfriend for a "demon" when he was drugged and attacked her because he thought she was attacking him. He strangled her and then mutilated her genitals with a curling iron, defecated on her face and put chocolate and candy in her throat.
On Thursday, his mother told Doris Weitz that she had told the South African newscast Eyewitness News that she wished it had been longer.
"I hate hearing the things the monster did to my son, it's been very, very difficult," he said.
The woman is the daughter of the Malibu restaurateur, Howdy Kabrins, who founded the La Salsa Tex-Mex chain.
Kabrins said the justice had "prevailed," but said he also wanted a longer sentence.
Before sentencing, Weitz urged the judge to give him life without parole, saying: "Diego Novella has given me life without parole. There will be no recovery from this.
"He has given Gabi's father, Howdy, a life sentence without parole, all I can say is that I hope he is not out of prison while he is still alive.
He and Novella had spent time together when their daughter was still alive. The couple met at Pepperdine University and went out for several weeks, but separated due to their substance abuse problems.
She married Dr. Blake Alban and reconnected with Novella after her divorce.
She and Novella reconnected online and rekindled their relationship in 2013. By then, she had already launched her own marketing agency.
Kabrins met Novella more than once. The couple is pictured on holiday together before the death of their daughter
Novella and Kabrins met at Pepperdine University where they left as students for several weeks before she finished with him because of his substance abuse problems. They reconciled in 2013 after divorcing her husband. He convinced her to go to South Africa to seek treatment for Lyme disease
On July 29, he attacked his girlfriend in an apparent sexual game that went wrong. He was described as a crack and cocaine addict beforehand.
His lawyers said he was drugged with cannabis and with sceletium over-the-counter the night of the attack.
After attacking her, Novella went from her hotel room to the hotel bar where she picked up a guitar and started singing.
It portrays the victim's mother, Doris Weitz, leaving the court in South Africa (center) in 2015
A lawyer from Novella (shown in court in February) said he planned to appeal the conviction and sentence
Witnesses said he told a barman: "My lovely lady is dead," and then they went into the sea.
He was arrested after the room service staff found his body and called the police.
Novella is a descendant of billionaire Dougherty Novella in Guatemala, owner of Cementos Progreso, the largest cement company in the country, and one of the most powerful families in the Central American country.
At the time of his death, they said that he had distanced himself from the family and had been for years.
The family of the victims has not yet ruled on the sentence.