PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Providence man was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder in the strangulation death of a mother of three while she was working as an escort.
Masi's loved ones were sobbing as the verdict came down. They told NBC 10 News they're happy with the judgment, as he was sentenced to life in prison.
"He deserves to rot in hell in jail for what he did to my girl," said Masi's friend, Brianna Campanella.
Others said they hope Tejeda never has the opportunity to leave prison.
"He took a life and that's what he deserves to receive is life," said friend Jason Colom. "He took a life. He doesn't deserve to get out. He doesn't deserve parole. He doesn't deserve to get out. He deserves what he took"
"I hope they put a zip tie around his neck and pull it -- the way that he pulled it around my girl's neck," Campanella said.
They said Masi only sold her body to take care of her three children.
"Ashely was constantly applying for jobs," Colom said. "(She was) constantly getting little jobs here and there but with three girls it's hard to find a baby sitter. She did what she had to do and it wasn't 20 (or) 30 times a day."
They want people to know their friend was more than an escort.
"There was nobody like Ashley -- nobody," Campanella said. "And nobody can ever replace her. Us losing her, we lost a piece of ourselves that day."
"Once the verdict came it was just relief," Colom said. "(It was a) big weight off everyone's shoulders. Finally, Ashely can rest in peace."
But Tejeda shook his head after the verdict was read. His attorney plans to appeal.
"I think we had a good jury, they certainly spent a lot of time deliberating," Defense Attorney Judith Crowell said. "I'm grateful for that, but I'm disappointed in the outcome."
Prosecutors said Tejada, 29, a Marine reservist, gave conflicting statements to investigators. They said he met Masi through an ad posted on Backpage.com, an online adult classifieds site.
Tejeda's attorney had argued that detectives didn't look at other potential suspects, including some 25 men who had communicated with Masi prior to her death.
Tejeda wasn't the first man convicted of murdering a woman he met on Backpage.com at Providence Superior Court. James Adams was sentenced to life, plus 100 years last November for a similar murder.