NM man gets prison for killing girlfriend, her dad

January 8, 2014 • State News

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Santa Fe man who pleaded guilty to killing his pregnant girlfriend and her father has been sentenced to the maximum of 32 years in prison.

Prosecutors say 27-year-old Marino Leyba [auth] Jr. was sentenced Wednesday after entering into a plea agreement last month.

Leyba pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 2009 deaths of 17-year-old Sarah Lovato and 50-year-old Bennie Ray Lovato.

Leyba initially was convicted of first-degree murder in 2010 and sentenced to 63 years in prison.

But the New Mexico Supreme Court overturned the verdict last year. The court ruled a key piece of the evidence against Leyba was inadmissible hearsay.

Sarah Lovato reportedly wrote in her diary about being afraid of Leyba. The high court ruled the diary shouldn’t have been allowed in the case as evidence.

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