Arizona Judge Imposes Life Sentence on Killer of Point Woman, 21, Formerly of Brick
Jose Luis Marquez sentenced in the death of Kyleigh Sousa in Arizona
An Arizona man was sentenced to life in prison for dragging to death Kyleigh Sousa, a Point Borough woman, near her college in Arizona on May 26, 2010, according to a tweet from the Maricopa County, AZ, court officials.
The sentence imposed on Jose Luis Marquez, 22, is life in prison, with a chance of parole, in the murder conviction and two and a half years for a robbery conviction, according to the tweet from the public information office of the Maricopa County Superior Court.
Marquez was sentenced by Judge Edward Bassett in Maricopa County Superior Court on Friday after Kyleigh's mother, Karen Montenegro, implored the judge to sentence Marquez to life without parole.
The judge rendered his decision of life in prison despite the protestations of Elizabeth Marquez, the mother of Jose Luis. Elizabeth Marquez told the judge her son is not the killer and begged for leniency, according to television news reporters live tweeting from the courtroom.
Wendy Halloran, of the NBC affiliate covering the sentencing, tweeted, "#JoseluisMarquez's mom to Kylie's mom, 'As a mother I know what you're going through. We share the same pain.' Kylie's mom, 'No we don't.' "
Arizona authorities have said that Kyleigh, 21, and a friend were about to go into an International House of Pancakes restaurant in Tempe, AZ on the evening of May 26 when men in a car approached them.
Marquez, the driver, talked to Kyleigh and her friend briefly, grabbed Kyleigh's purse straps, sped off and held onto the straps even as Kyleigh got tangled in them and was dragged to her death, authorities said.
Police later arrested Marquez, who they identified from a traffic photo and arrested for the murder.
Karen and Nicholas Montenegro, Kyleigh's mother and stepfather, and Bernie Sousa, her brother, each read statements and played a short video of Kyleigh prior to the sentencing.
Karen Montenegro implored the judge to give Marquez life without parole, according to the NBC affiliate in the courtroom covering the sentencing.
"Joseluis Marquez killed Kyleigh. She died like an animal on a roadway," said Karen Montenegro, according to a tweet from Wendy Halloran of the NBC affiliate.
Karen Montenegro told the court that Marquez "never stopped the car ...he never looked back..he never tried to help," according to a tweet by MaryEllen Resendez, a reporter who covered the sentencing for the ABC News affiliate in Arizona.
Additional tweets from ABC quoting Karen Montenegro:
- "There's nothing I can say to you today that can describe my two years of hell after Jose Luis Marquez murdered my daughter."
- "She had a smile that would light up the room and an infectious laugh."
- "She was the leader of our family..the planner..the coordinator..always making sure everyone had what they would need."
- "Jose Luis is a robber, a liar and a coward."
Kyleigh was kept on life support until her family arrived from New Jersey and eventually died from her injuries.
The jury deliberated for less than an hour and reached a verdict Oct. 22.
Kyleigh and her family had lived in Point Borough for six years, after living in Brick. Kyleigh, a 2007 Point Borough High School graduate, was a junior at Arizona State University, majoring in pre-law and communications.
To read the Dec. 2010 Patch story about Kyleigh with interviews with Karen Montenegro and Bernie Sousa click here.
To read her obituary, click here.
Patch will update this story when additional information becomes available.