The Maldonado sons allegedly endured years of abuse as well
Credit: Courtesy Wendy Maldonado

Nearly a decade has passed since Randy Maldonado has seen his mother, Wendy, who has been imprisoned in Oregon since 2005 for murdering her abusive husband.

The judge who sentenced Wendy described what she – and her four sons – had endured as “the worst case of domestic violence that any of us has seen.”

“My brothers have gotten to see her, but I haven’t been allowed to,” says Randy, 27, who together with his mom slipped into Aaron Maldonado’s bedroom while he slept in the early morning hours of May 1, 2005, and crushed his skull with a hatchet and a hammer.

He tells PEOPLE, “In a lot of ways it’s almost been easier for me than it has been for my brothers. It’s like she doesn’t exist. I miss her pretty badly.”

In three months, Randy – who spent just over six years in prison for his role in the murder – will once again get to see his mother, who over the years had her teeth knocked out, her ribs broken and was repeatedly strangled by their violent father until she blacked out. During this time, Wendy yearned to escape, but Aaron repeatedly threatened to kill her and their sons if she ever tried leaving him, detailing exactly how he would do it, she says.

On March 7, Wendy will walk through the front gates of Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Oregon, as a free woman.

For more on the abuse endured by Wendy Maldonado and her ultimate decision to murder her husband, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands

“Our whole lives she took care of us, even in the middle of all the bad stuff,” says Randy, who like the rest of his brothers claims to have been regularly and savagely beaten by their dad.

“Now we want to take care of her and help her get her life back together, however that may look. It’s going to be great after so long to finally be a family again and let this finally be over for her.”

Wendy’s sons and scores of other family members will make the 250-mile trek to the prison from Grants Pass, Oregon, on the morning of her release. “There will probably be 10 vehicles heading up there,” says Randy, who married the daughter of a woman Wendy became friends with in prison. “I’m sure it’ll be pretty overwhelming for her.”

Lately, Wendy has been telling family members that she wants to head to the nearest Baskin-Robbins for ice cream immediately after she gets out of prison. But Randy knows what she’s really been craving.

“She wants to get out and cook herself a meal,” he laughs. “She’s dying to have some food prepared exactly the way she likes it. You don’t really get that in prison.”