Loved ones of Vida Vistro spoke about her lively and compassionate personality and their difficulty in dealing with her death. They expressed sadness for her children, who are left without a mother or father.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge James Rigali sentenced Vistro to 25 years to life in prison, the maximum allowed, for the first-degree murder of Vida Vistro.

 Vistro, who must serve 25 years in prison before he is eligible for parole, was not eligible for the death penalty.

There is no going back,C Rigali told Vistro after issuing his sentence. The damage that you have caused is extensive.

Rigali said Vistro had the right to appeal the case.

Vistro/s attorney, Victor Salas Jr., said after the hearing that his client wants to file an appeal.

Prior to the sentencing, those close to the victim were invited to speak to the court and Vistro.

Vistro, 40, was accused of using plastic bags to suffocate Vida Vistro, 38, in her home on March 21, 2005. Ferdinand Vistro, who had a history of depression, attempted suicide by way of a sleeping pill overdose on the day he killed Vida Vistro. The victim had filed for divorce from her husband shortly before her death.

A Santa Maria jury returned a guilty verdict in the case Nov. 6.

The Vistros have three children who are in the custody of Vida Vistro/s mother, Corrie Ebrahimi, who was the first person to make a &#8220victim impact statementC Wednesday.

There was never a doubt in my mind what happened 7 you had killed her,C she said, looking firmly at Ferdinand Vistro, who was seated at the defense table. &#8220It was instant knowledge.

It does not seem possible that my beautiful, vivacious daughter is below my feet.C

With her hand quaking as she clung to her notes, Ebrahimi said her final words to her former son-in-law.

I hope this is the last time I ever have to look at you.C

Vida Vistro/s brother, John Ebrahimi Jr., spoke next.

He read a statement written by his father, also named John Ebrahimi, who listened with his fingers pressed to his closed eyes.

Ebrahimi wrote that his daughter was kind, compassionate and helpful.

Just imagine, my grandchildren going through life knowing that their father murdered their mother,C he said.

The younger Ebrahimi then spoke on his own behalf.

He said that when he called to tell his father, usually a composed man, that Vida Vistro was dead, he heard the phone hit the ground and listened to the &#8220painful screams of my father, over and over again.C

Ebrahimi said he felt overwhelmed at the loss of his sister, but couldn/t fathom the loss felt by his parents at the death of their only daughter. John Ebrahimi said he was shocked when he observed Ferdinand Vistro show no apparent reaction during trial while viewing photos of his former wife dead at the crime scene.

As my family cried, he just sat there with no expression … I realized he was a monster, C Ebrahimi said.

Statements followed from longtime friends of Vida Vistro, and from former co-workers at Prudential California Realty in Santa Maria.

After the sentencing, Ebrahimi said she was satisfied with Vistro/s prison sentence.

A nephew of Ferdinand Vistro, Felix Lung, expressed concern for the mental health of his uncle while in prison.

I don/t want him to take his life,C he said.

Lung described Vistro as a caring father from what he saw, and said he would like to see the Vistros and the Ebrahimis come together in harmony for the benefit of the three children.

Samantha Yale can be reached at 739-2159 or