Odessan sentenced following wife’s death

An Odessa man accused of setting fire to a house and murdering his wife nearly four years ago pleaded guilty to negligent homicide earlier this month and was sentenced to two years in state jail.

According to Ector County District Court records, Rito Castro Suniga, 53, was indicted on a manslaughter charge on June 8, 2021, for allegedly placing a locking mechanism on the outside of a trailer’s only door, preventing his wife, Terri, from escaping a fire on Dec. 13, 2020.

Court records show that case was dismissed when Suniga was indicted in May 2024 on two counts of first-degree murder in his 52-year-old wife’s death. According to that indictment, Suniga started the trailer fire and/or locked her inside the trailer and caused her death.

Suniga pleaded guilty and was sentenced June 12.

According to her obituary, Terri Suniga, who married Rito Suniga in March 1996, was a waitress, mother of six and grandmother of 20.