PHOENIX, AZ (October 22, 2012) – After less than a day of deliberation, a Maricopa County jury today found Joseluis Marquez (D.O.B. 3/17/90) guilty of murdering Kyleigh Sousa while stealing her purse. He faces the possibility of spending 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on December 14th, 2012 by the Honorable Edward Bassett.
“While nothing can heal the deep wound this crime has caused Kyleigh’s family, today’s verdict at least provides a measure of justice for the senseless taking of her innocent life,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “I commend the jury for their service to our community in appropriately holding this defendant accountable for his criminal actions,” he added.
At around 2:00am on May 26th 2010, ASU student Kyleigh Sousa and a friend were walking to the International House of Pancakes in Tempe. A car approached her and several of the occupants engaged her in conversation. As she stood by the driver’s side door, the driver of the vehicle suddenly grabbed her purse and began driving away. Kyleigh’s arm was caught in the purse strap and she was pulled to the ground and dragged, sustaining severe injuries including blunt force trauma to her head, which caused her death.
A witness who was in the car later contacted Tempe police and identified Joseluis Marquez as the driver and provided additional information that allowed investigators to identify the other occupants in the vehicle at the time of the incident. Marquez was arrested on December 7, 2010 and subsequently indicted by a Grand Jury on one count of First Degree Felony Murder and one count of Robbery. The other occupants in the car were not charged.
Under Arizona’s Felony Murder statute, Marquez faces a possible sentence of natural life in prison for causing the death of an individual while committing or fleeing a felony offense, specifically, robbery. The law was amended on August 2nd, 2012 to eliminate the possibility of early release. Defendants convicted of crimes that occurred before that date may be eligible for release after serving 25 calendar years in prison.