Cape Town - The sister of Diego Novella, a Guatemalan convicted of murdering his American marketing executive girlfriend, testified in mitigation of sentence at the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.
Priscilla Dougherty described her brother, one of seven siblings, as a teenager who was "always full of energy, always happy, always smiling".
But, that all changed in 1989 when his 23-year-old brother Paul died in a tragic car accident. Diego was 15 at the time.
Dougherty struggled to hold back tears as she told the court her brother was declared brain dead but was kept alive for two days so that Diego and her twin brother Lucas could return from boarding school in the United States to say goodbye.
"I think part of Diego died with Paul. My whole family died after that. My whole family was never the same. We were all shocked, especially effected were Diego and Lucas. Paul was always aware of them and looking after them."