--2 Two Life Terms For Leyba
Sept. 29, 2016
reno leyba sentencing

Two Life Terms For Leyba

Judge Says Mental Illness Doesn't Explain Double-Murders

July 6, 2010, 12:00 am
By Corey Pein
Marino Leyba, Jr--the young murderer better known by his family nickname, Reno--had nothing to say for himself at his July 6 sentencing hearing.

The family of his victims, Sarah and Bennie Lovato, Sr, all asked for the maximum sentence, saying nothing can bring back the dead.

"At least he can repent," Eddie Lovato, Bennie's brother, said of Leyba, who was convicted in April. 

"I miss everything about my dad, even the things that used to bug me," Sarah's sister Julie said, calling on the judge to give two consecutive life sentences, as requested by the prosecution. "I would've asked for three, but they told me not to mention my nephew"--the nearly nine-month old fetus in Sarah's womb when she was shot.

Defense attorney Gary Mitchell chastised prosecutors for making light of Lebya's mental illness, and asked that his life sentences run concurrently, a request that was denied. (Because this is a felony murder case, however, Leyba still receives an automatic appeal.)

First Judicial District Judge Michael Vigil said he still didn't understand how the horrific crime came to happen. 

"I wish I knew what you were thinking, Reno," he said, after sentencing the young man to two consecutive life prison terms.

Leyba, still wearing the spectacles Mitchell had him fitted with sometime before the murder trial, but now sporting a beard, seemed lost in thought throughout much of the hearing.


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