A jury found Joseluis Marquez guilty of first-degree murder and robbery in the 2010 death of 21-year-old Arizona State University student Kyleigh Sousa.
Sousa was dragged by a car in an attempted robbery of her purse in an IHOP parking lot just south of the University's Tempe campus on May 26, 2010. She later died from her injuries.
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Marquez, then 20 years old, was arrested more than six months later, in December, 2010.
In an apparent attempt to avoid the all-or-nothing result of a first-degree murder trial, Marquez's lawyer offered prosecutors a plea deal in which Marquez would plead guilty to one count of manslaughter, and give him a prison sentence between 13.5 and 18 years.
The Maricopa County Attorney's Office replied, No. A spokesman for the MCAO told New Times at the time -- in March -- that prosecutors didn't even counter that proposal.
It's now apparent why -- a court spokesman announced that a verdict had been reached this morning, less than an hour after the jury was scheduled to start deliberations.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery was at the Tempe Police Department's press conference to announce Marquez' arrest in December, 2010, and the then-newly elected county attorney said he believed the first-degree murder charge was appropriate in the case. That too seems fitting, in retrospect.
Marquez helped the cops catch him by getting a photo-radar ticket a couple weeks before Sousa's death, driving the same rental car he was allegedly driving during the botched robbery.
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According to court documents, once police found out who the other occupants of the vehicle were, they told the cops Marquez was the driver and the person who grabbed Kyleigh's purse, leading to her death.
Police first contacted Marquez nearly a month before his arrest -- when he provided police with a story that later proved to be false, according to the cops -- but he would eventually be arrested after police tracked down the rental car.
Marquez is scheduled to be sentenced on December 14, and although Marquez faces life in prison, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery notes that Marquez could become eligible for release after serving 25 years.