After lunching on pizza provided by the court, jurors in the murder trial of Marino Leyba, Jr, returned today with their verdict:
• Guilty of the first-degree murder of Sarah Lovato
• Guilty of the first-degree murer of Bennie Ray Lovato, Sr
• Guilty of aggravated burglary
• Guilty of tampering with evidence
Leyba's sentencing, set for some time after July 4, will be little more than a formality: The murder convictions automatically result in two life terms of imprisonment. However, because this is a capital case, the verdict is automatically appealed to the New Mexico Supreme Court, according to defense attorney Gary Mitchell.
The jurors' verdict, Mitchell tells SFR, is "
classic New Mexico
...We haven't caught up with the science [of mental health]."
Linda Lovato, Sarah's mother and Bennie's ex-wife, told reporters that she felt justice was served.
"I'm glad it's over, and I think the family has closure now," Santa Fe Police Detective Tony Trujillo, who investigated the murders, told SFR.