In 2010, Joselius Marquez snatched ASU student Kyleigh Sousa’s purse outside of an IHOP. When Marquez hopped in his car and drove off, he ended up dragging Sousa to her death.
On Monday, a jury convicted Marquez of first-degree murder, AZfamily.com reports. He now faces life in prison or even the death penalty.
On May 26, 2010, 21-year-old Sousa was standing outside of an IHOP near the ASU campus when Marquez approached her in a Dodge Charger. Marquez allegedly grabbed Sousa’s purse and then drove off.
Sousa became tangled up in the purse strap and was dragged behind the vehicle. She later died from the head trauma she suffered during the incident.
A photo traffic ticket helped Tempe police track down Marquez’s vehicle. He pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. The defense argued that Sousa hadn’t been dragged by the car, but had simply stumbled and fallen. After only an hour of deliberation, the jury found Marquez guilty of first-degree murder.
Under Arizona’s criminal code, there are two types of first-degree murder. The first is a deliberate, premeditated murder, meaning the perpetrator intended to kill his victim.
The second type is known as felony murder. If a person is killed while the perpetrator commits a dangerous felony, the perpetrator can be charged with first-degree felony murder, even if he didn’t directly kill the person. Dangerous felonies include burglary, robbery, sexual assault, and drug crimes. Here, Sousa’s death was an unintended result of robbery, a dangerous felony.
A first-degree murder conviction is punishable by life in prison or the death penalty. The death penalty is often applied in cases where the defendant shows no remorse or has a long history of violent crime.
- Trial in dragging death of ASU student focuses on her injuries (AZfamily.com)
- Robbery Overview (FindLaw)
- First Degree Murder Overview (FindLaw)
- Elizabeth Johnson Beats Kidnapping Charge in Baby Gabriel Case (FindLaw’s Phoenix Criminal Law Blog)