A Gainesville woman whom Superior Court Judge Jason Deal called “a plague upon our society” was convicted of murder Thursday and sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.
Misty Sunshine Moran, 39, was found guilty of malice murder and 16 other charges in the shooting death of Taxi El Palmar driver Isaias Tovar-Murillo, 46, of Gainesville.
The jury returned a verdict just before 12:30 p.m. Thursday after entering deliberations a few hours earlier.
Investigators accused Moran of attempting to rob Tovar-Murillo, then shooting him in the head March 15. His body was found in the wooded area around Barrett and Dorsey Peek roads after his cab traveled into a nearby resident’s backyard.
Before jury deliberations, Moran’s attorney C. David Turk III and Assistant District Attorney Shiv Sachdeva began the day with closing arguments.
“It is our position, Ms. Moran’s position, that this was an unintentional death,” Turk said while facing the jury.
Following Turk, Sachdeva called on the jury in “the time to do justice.”
“She left the victim laying there to die,” Sachdeva said, claiming the defendant showed no remorse in response to Turk’s argument.
The jury found Moran guilty on all 17 counts presented, including malice murder, felony murder, criminal attempt to commit armed robbery, conspiracy to commit a crime, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and participation in criminal gang activity.
The majority of the charges merged into the malice murder charge, which resulted in a life sentence for Moran without the chance of parole.
Moran received an additional 15 years on top of her life sentence for the violation of the Georgia Street Gang and Terrorism Prevention Act and another five years for possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Deal called the case “disturbing” and “unconscionable” that a hard-working taxi driver could be killed in such a fashion.
“He was an asset to this community, and you took him away and you took his life for no reason,” Deal said during Moran’s sentencing.
Three co-defendants with Moran pleaded guilty in August to avoid prosecution for felony murder. Nicholas Allen Gonzalez, 24, Justin John Adams, 22, and Ignacio Mondragon, 21, all of Gainesville, agreed to a guilty plea for attempted armed robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and violation of the Georgia Street Gang and Terrorism Prevention Act.
Adams and Mondragon received 30-year sentences and will spend 15 years of that in prison. Gonzalez was given a 25-year sentence and is expected to be in jail for 13 years.
A fourth co-defendant, Margarita Leanos, 28, will have her case heard in Deal’s courtroom Monday morning.