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Woman denied new trial in 2015 slaying of taxi driver
Margarita Leanos

A Gainesville woman testified Monday about how the medication she received while incarcerated made her “confused” while attempting to fight a murder charge.

Margarita Leanos appeared in Superior Court Judge Jason Deal’s courtroom for her motion for a new trial. Leanos was convicted of felony murder in the death of taxi driver Isaias Tovar-Murillo, 46, in March 2015. Deal denied the motion.

The prosecution claimed in its case that Leanos was the getaway driver in an armed robbery turned homicide, when Tovar-Murillo was shot in the wooded area around Barrett and Dorsey Creek roads.

Arturo Corso, representing Leanos for her motion, brought trial attorney Lee Parks to the stand to testify.

Corso questioned Parks on why character witnesses were not used before sentencing and why he did not highlight convicted triggerwoman Misty Moran’s alleged deception.

According to Corso’s motion, Leanos did not have knowledge of the robbery plan, and Moran had allegedly “attempted to betray her by setting her up with a confidential informant to purchase a tiny amount of drugs for personal use.”

Because of another pending case, Parks said he tried to keep the two cases separate.

“I was trying to keep that door closed,” the attorney said.

Also raised in the new trial motion was a change of medication given by the jail staff.

“The modification substantially affected Ms. Leanos’ cognitive abilities, including her decision-making abilities during the trial and in the decision about whether she should testify,” Corso wrote.

Leanos took the stand to testify about the medication and its effects on her.

“It was making me confused,” Leanos said.

Other inmates told Leanos she was acting differently, Leanos testified.

Parks testified he did not see anything in Leanos’ behavior that made him concerned for her mental competency in standing trial.

“If we could go back and do it again, she would testify and tell the jury all the things that they were told wrong by the state and by the defense attorney,” Corso said.

Following the denied motion, Corso said he plans to file an appeal.

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