Plea deal reached in 2001 killings

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Juan Angel Losoya, 31, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder with a firearm, and agreed to a 33-year sentence in exchange for his testimony against co-defendant Arnold Lee “Sonny” Evans.
Losoya, Evans and a third man, Anselmo Iniguez, were each charged with two counts of first-degree murder in 2004. Marion County Sheriff’s deputies received a tip from a confidential informant that led them to skeletal remains of two unidentified men in a deep grave behind a house in northwestern Marion County near the Levy County line. An autopsy later showed both victims had been shot in the knees and in the backs of their heads.
Authorities believe the victims were killed around Christmas 2001. Prosecutor Anthony Tatti said in court Wednesday that Evans and his girlfriend were living in the house at the time.
Iniguez later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and accessory after the fact to murder, and received a 10-year sentence in exchange for his expected testimony against Evans.
Evans is scheduled to go to trial in June. If convicted, he could face a death sentence.
Losoya, speaking Spanish, told Circuit Judge Hale Stancil he would testify honestly.
“What I want to say is the truth. I don’t want to say more than the truth,” he said, with court interpreter Holly Reed translating his statement into English.
“That’s all we’re asking,” replied Tatti.
Losoya, a citizen of Mexico, faces deportation after his release from prison. Lawyer Tania Alavi said after Wednesday’s hearing that her client concluded the plea agreement was in his best interest.
“The deal’s been on the table for a while,” she said. “Just over the course of the last year, he’s probably been thinking it over.”
Losoya consulted with both the Mexican consulate and a Mexican legal assistance program before agreeing to the deal, Alavi said.
As part of the agreement, Losoya can’t withdraw his plea. If he fails to testify against Evans, prosecutors can bring him back before Stancil for resentencing, and the judge could sentence him to life.
Sheriff’s deputies have said the killings were probably drug-related. The State Attorney’s Office agreed to drop two charges of cocaine possession against Losoya as part of the deal.
Stancil gave Losoya credit for the nearly four years he has spent in the county jail awaiting trial.
Tatti left the courtroom without comment on his way to another hearing. Because Losoya hasn’t yet given a sworn statement to prosecutors, Alavi declined to specify what his testimony against Evans might involve.
“I don’t think there’ll be any surprises,” she said.
Rick Cundiff may be reached at [email protected] or at 867-4130.

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