Jurors decided the fate of a man accused of dragging an Arizona State University student to her death during a purse snatching.
22-year-old Jose Luis Marquez was found guilty of first degree murder and robbery Monday morning.
A lot of tears were flowing when the family of the victim, 21-year-old Kyleigh Sousa, heard the guilty verdicts in court. Sousa's mother was seen in the front row, holding Sousa's ASU Sun Devil shirt on her lap.
"I've had it with me since she passed and it's with me everywhere I go. I sleep with it every night under my pillow and it's her strength to me," says Karen Montenegro.
Marquez was accused of trying to snatch Sousa's purse while she was walking with a friend outside an IHOP restaurant in Tempe back on May 26, 2010. According to court documents, Kyleigh's arm was caught in the purse strap and she was pulled to the ground and dragged. She sustained severe injuries, including blunt force trauma to her head, which caused her death.
Tempe police arrested Marquez six months later after an intense investigation involving a photo radar picture.
It has been an agonizing 2 and a half years for Sousa's family.
"So many people say you're so strong but you're not. It's a mother fighting for her child and that's what I had to do. I'm not stronger than anybody else," says Montenegro. "How cowardly he was to steal and rob from young helpless girls, in a vehicle no less."
Marquez did not react when the court clerk read the two guilty verdicts. Sousa's family wept.
Sentencing for Marquez is slated for December 14. He could face 25 years to life in prison.
Video: FOX 10's Linda Williams reports.
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