Jamie Heron was just 10 when he saw his grandmother’s boyfriend shoot his father dead and fire a bullet into his mother’s skull.
He heard his grandma scream that night in 1983 as her lover, Luis Sanchez, pulled out a pistol at their Brooklyn home after a fistfight with Heron’s dad, James.
“No, Louie, no!” she yelled, but Sanchez took aim. The boy heard gunshots.
Heron, who had been standing outside the house holding his Wiffle ball, rushed in to see his mother, Sonia, lying on the staircase, shot in the head. Sanchez was coming down the steps, the gun still in his hand.
He blasted Sonia again, then fired at James, hitting his chest.
“My dad fell right at my feet. He literally almost fell on me,” Heron recalled. “When I lifted him, that’s when the blood came rushing out.”
Heron’s grandma, Petra Fonseca, stood by Sanchez even after he was convicted of murdering her son-in-law, and she went on to marry him in a 1990 wedding at Green Haven Correctional Facility in Dutchess County.
Last week, 36 years after the bloodbath, Sanchez was released from prison and deported to his native Dominican Republic.
Now Heron is terrified for his life — even as Sanchez, 66, remains married to his 92-year-old grandmother.
“I’m scared, simply based on what he did and based on his justification of his crimes,” Heron said, referring to Sanchez’s claim to a parole board that the shooting was “self-defense.”
“I have a teenage son who is asking me, ‘Are we safe?’ ” he said. “I have to explain to him that somehow, somewhere there are people who think he should be free.”
“If this guy does something to somebody else, I’m going to feel responsible,” he added.
He called Sanchez “a double murderer who destroyed our family.”
Although Sanchez has served more than 34 years in prison, Heron is now seeking justice for Sonia, who was left paralyzed by the shooting and died in 2016.
A Colorado coroner ruled her death a “homicide” due to complications from “multiple gunshot wounds.” Now Heron is pressing the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to file murder charges against Sanchez.
“I’m devastated, and I hope the district attorney charges him and puts him in prison where he belongs,” Heron told The Post.
Originally from the Dominican Republic, Sanchez came to the Heron family in early 1983, when he was homeless and broke, according to Heron.
He had moved to New York after a stint as a security guard in Puerto Rico, according to transcripts from Sanchez’s 2018 parole hearing.
Heron said his grandmother was recently divorced and had moved into the Herons’ attic apartment a few months before meeting the 31-year-old Sanchez.
He was 26 years her junior, but Fonseca fell for him.
“My grandmother is like 30 years older, and he’s this homeless guy who just came to the country, and he’s telling her he loves her, and she bites on it,” Heron said.
Sonia, then 35, and James, 27, were livid that Sonia’s mother had allowed a stranger who seemed to do nothing but cause problems into their lives.
“In a short period, tensions started to build. He was living there for free, and it was pretty obvious what his intentions were, because he was so young, and my grandmother was so old,” Heron said. “It got to the point where my parents called the police on him, because he said he was going to burn the house down.”
Before Sanchez, the Herons were a “normal” middle-class family, according to Jamie Heron.
James, a lifelong New Yorker, worked in construction and coached Heron’s Little League team, Heron recalled. Sonia, born in Puerto Rico, was a crossing guard at James’ nearby elementary school, St. Sylvester.
“It was a good life,” said Heron, who lived with his parents and older half-sister, Sonia’s daughter, Nellie Navarro. “They didn’t have a lot, but they had enough to rehab the house. They were trying to make a better life for us . . . fix up the house and rent it out.”
Sanchez put an end to all that.
“Overnight, everything was gone. They were both gone, and New York was gone,” Heron said.
After police whisked him from the scene of his father’s murder, Heron never returned to the Lincoln Avenue home.
While his mother recovered from the shooting in a coma at a Manhattan hospital, Heron was shipped to Florida to live with Sonia’s brother. A year later, he returned to face Sanchez at trial.
His testimony helped sentence Sanchez to 33 years plus four months to life in prison.
While Sanchez rotted in various state prisons, Heron sought some semblance of the normalcy he lost on that May day in 1983.
He spent the rest of his childhood living in Colorado under the care of his father’s sister, Mary. His dad’s killing was seldom discussed.
“Once I was taken away, my aunt sheltered me from everything,” Heron said. “She was trying to create a stable life for me.”
Heron said he went years without seeing his mother, who lived at Gouverneur Hospital for a decade before being moved into a Bronx apartment. She was paralyzed in all but one limb from the shooting and required full-time assistance from health aides throughout her life. In 2007, she moved to a Colorado facility to be closer to Heron.
Heron said he cut off all communication with his grandmother.
“I never spoke to her. I hated her. I couldn’t deal with it. I wasn’t forgiving. I didn’t want to hear the explanations,” he said.
Heron saw Fonseca in passing at his mom’s bedside in the early 2000s, and she attempted to justify her marriage to her son-in-law’s killer, he said. The two are still husband and wife, he told the parole board in July last year.
“Her position was about forgiveness, and it was infuriating, because she referred to [the murder] as an accident,” Heron said. “It made me really, really angry.”
Heron said he was shocked to learn in January that Sanchez was slated for release, since he had been pressing the Brooklyn district attorney to issue a new murder charge after his mother’s death.
“I was under the impression they were moving forward [with a new murder case] and to just spring this on me that he’s getting out?” Heron said. “In January, my life stopped because of this.”
Asked about the case, the DA’s office indicated it would not pursue a new murder charge.
“The elderly defendant in this case already spent 34 years in prison for fatally shooting a man and wounding his wife,” a spokesman wrote.
“The tragic death as well as the severity of the woman’s injuries were considered when he received the lengthy sentence. He will now be deported, and a new conviction would not have resulted in any meaningful addition to the time he had already served.”
The January notice of Sanchez’s release came to Heron with an apology letter in which his father’s killer claimed the shooting was self-defense.
“They got angry and attacked me and I had to defend myself,” Sanchez wrote in the 2016 letter obtained by The Post.
He also claimed he found God in prison.
“I am not trying to say that I am the victim, no, because what I did was against God’s Law and against men’s Law,” he wrote. “For my redemption I am working by the grace of God as a Deacon in the Protestant Church in Otisville, New York.”
Denied parole that year, he came before the board again in July 2018, when members grilled him about his relationship with Fonseca.
“The file indicates that she may have been suffering from some type of dementia . . . Is that your recollection, as well?” the board asked, according to transcripts.
“I don’t believe so. We fall in love, since the day we met. Even today, we are still married,” Sanchez answered.
The board replied: “The record indicates you were trying to convince her to give you the house; is that correct?”
“Never,” he said.
Despite his claims of finding God, Sanchez had numerous infractions in prison, including one for harassment.
The board denied Sanchez parole in the US but granted him “conditional parole for deportation only,” a program that allows US immigration officials to release offenders who have served their minimum sentences back to their home countries. Federal authorities deported Sanchez on Tuesday to the Dominican Republic.
Heron, now divorced with three sons and living in the Midwest, wants to see Sanchez locked up for life.
“I would rather him be paroled in the United States, because he would be supervised,” Heron said. “Somehow, somewhere, there are people who think he should be free and he’s not a danger.
“I’m sure the conditions in the Dominican Republic are fantastic for him compared to prison.”
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