PHOENIX - A Valley family is finally getting justice for their murdered son, 21-year-old Zachary Marco. On October 17, 2010, the Arizona State University honor student was murdered while walking to his dorm for refusing to give up his cell phone and laptop.
On Thursday, Judge Karen O'Conner sentenced Louis Harper to life in prison on the first degree murder charges with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
In the armed robbery, Harper was sentenced to 15 years in prison, to be served consecutively. Harper pleaded guilty to the charges last month.
"My family is destroyed," cried Zachary's mother Claudia Marco.
After two years of heartbreak, she and Zachary's father pleaded with Judge O'Conner to lock Harper away for life.
"He was exposed, he was afraid of my 5 foot, 4 inch son and shot him dead," Dan Marco told the judge angrily.
Emotions ran high inside the courtroom Thursday when Judge O'Conner ordered a woman be thrown out for making an outburst during Dan Marco's reenactment of the tragedy.
"He didn't steal a broken computer," explained Marco. "He didn't steal a cell phone, an unusable cell phone. He stole a life and if he was any kind of man he'd offer his in return."
Authorities said Harper did not act alone. His accomplice Marion Anthony Patterson also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced later this month. Police say both alleged gang members have criminal track records and were apprehended days after the murder in 2010. Patterson had a plea deal earlier this year in exchange for testimony about the gunman.
"I don't want him to get out. That was the point of all the letters and the sentencing today," Dan Marco pleaded. "I was working on the end game. My family was working on the end game."
A family ripped apart by this tragedy.
"I didn't just lose Zachary," Claudia Marco sobbed. "I lost my husband and I lost my daughters."
A loss this family says will never be healed.
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