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Ga. Supreme Court upholds murder conviction in 2015 taxi driver slaying
Margarita Leanos
Margarita Leanos

An October 2015 murder conviction for Margarita Leanos has been upheld by the Georgia Supreme Court, according to opinions released Monday, May 7.

Leanos was convicted in the death of taxi driver Isaias Tovar-Murillo, 46, of Gainesville.

Tovar-Murillo was found March 15, 2015, with a gunshot wound to the back of his head in the wooded area around Barrett and Dorsey Peek roads.

The prosecution charged Leanos with felony murder for driving the getaway car and assisting triggerwoman Misty Moran.

Leanos received a life prison sentence with the chance of parole for felony murder. She received another 30 years consecutive to the life sentence for gang charges, with five of those to be served in prison. A person must serve 30 years on a life sentence before being considered for parole.

She appealed to the Supreme Court after her motion for a new trial was denied in Hall Superior Court in October 2016.

The court’s opinion states that Leanos had challenged “the sufficiency of the evidence used to convict her.”

She also argued her defense attorney counsel was ineffective for failing to realize that medication she was prescribed in jail “rendered her incompetent to assist with and meaningfully understand critical trial proceedings.”

Justices disagreed.

“The trial court did not find her testimony on the issue to be credible and noted that Leanos provided no other evidence to support her claim,” the opinion states.

Overall, “we affirm … the evidence was sufficient to sustain the convictions and Leanos has not shown that trial counsel was ineffective,” the opinion states.

Moran’s conviction and life sentence were upheld by the Supreme Court in October.

Moran was found guilty by a jury in October 2015 of malice murder and multiple other charges in Tovar-Murillo’s death.

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