Defense, Prosecutors React To Life-Without-Parole Sentence in Teen Murder Case
TULSA, Oklahoma - A Tulsa man was sentenced to life in prison without parole for his role in the death of a 14-year-old girl.
It took a jury three hours to decide the fate of Travis Lozada in the murder of April Montano.
Lozada was stone-faced as the jury read the guilty verdict. Prosecutors said life without parole is exactly what he deserves.
Lozada's attorneys never denied their client took part in this crime.
"There was a conspiracy to commit robbery. There was an attempted robbery," said defense attorney MJ Denman.
In May 2014, April Montano and her family were driving home from a day at the lake - hauling several four-wheelers behind their pick-up truck.
Prosecutors say Lozada, David Ruble and Demonte Rushing decided to steal the ATVs and started shooting at the truck.
A bullet hit 14-year-old April, killing her.
Ruble is said to have pulled the trigger - he was sentenced to life without parole in September.
Defense lawyers said Lozada helped police by telling them who was involved and where to find the gun. They were hoping jurors would give him life with the possibility of parole for that reason.
"I'm sure he's a little disappointed at this time. Life without parole - short of capital punishment - is the most extreme punishment you can have," Denman said.
Prosecutors pushed for the life without parole sentence, and the jury obliged.
“Some crimes deserve it, and this particular one was egregious enough, with an innocent victim who's only 14 years old, we thought it was absolutely the appropriate verdict," said Assistant District Attorney Kevin Keller.
Demonte Rushing is the only suspect left who has not gone to trial. He did testify in this trial, saying the robbery was Lozada's idea.