SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Nearly 20 years after a woman was stabbed to death in her San Francisco apartment, her best friend got justice when the woman’s convicted killer was sentenced Friday.

Maiisa Robinson and Lisa Valdez were friends as soon as they met at the age of 15.

They loved to dance and their names even rhymed. Their friendship felt like it was destiny.

“She was ride or die before that phrase ever came to being,” said Robinson. “That meant if she was your friend, she was your friend through and through.”

On May 20, 1998, Valdez was taken away from her friend after being fatally stabbed in her Diamond Heights apartment.

“That light was extinguished in such a violent way that truly I fell into darkness,” remembered Robinson. “I expected the world to stop turning.”

For 15 years, her killer remained free until Dna testing finally lead police to Anthony Hughes.

Hughes was detained on September 10, 2011, in the heart of the Tenderloin. From the time of Valdez’s death in 1998 to when he was arrested, Hughes committed several crimes like burglaries and thefts.”

On Friday, Maiisa shared a hug with Chief Pamela Hofsass, the then SFPD detective on Valdez’s case.

Robinson calls Hofsass her angel because she tested DNA evidence from Valdez’s crime scene every single year.

Hofsass says it’s what she does for all her cases.

“The victim was so outgoing and loving and just the joy to be around, according to all reports,” said Hofsass. “And it was so unnecessary to have her suffer in that manner.”

With today’s tension between the police and the public, Robinson says she wants Valdez’s story to remind people.

“There are angels among them. There are angels walking around in blue suits, blue uniforms,” Robinson said. “There are angles walking among us in blue uniforms.”

Hughes was sentenced to 16 years to life, He still claims he has been wrongly accused of Valdez’s murder.

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