The man behind the brutal rape and murder of an 18-year-old Texas girl abducted while she returned a movie rental on her way to church has been sentenced to life in prison.
It took jurors in Dallas County less than seven minutes to sentence Antonio Cochran, 37, on Monday, just days after taking only four days to convict him of the killing of Zoe Hastings, the Dallas Morning News reported.
“I hope you remember my face,” Hastings’s father, Jim Hastings, told his daughter’s murderer, who prosecutors said abducted the teen as she was stopped at a Walgreens to return a Redbox movie on Oct. 11, 2015.
Her body was found the next day in her minivan, which had crashed in a Dallas creek, officials said.
Her throat had been slashed several times.
Cochran’s sister asked the jury to be merciful on him, saying their family struggled growing up and noting: “I’m sure he wanted that father figure attention.”
But prosecutor Pat Kirlin said Cochran showed no mercy to Hastings.
“Did he show any mercy for her when he abducted her, a total stranger, from the Redbox? Raped her and then ripped open her throat? Where’s the mercy there?” Kirlin asked the jury.
Hastings’ parents searched for their daughter after she failed to return home after church for Sunday dinner.
They used an app to track her phone to the dry creek bed, but police had arrived on the scene first.
“Don’t go over there and look at your daughter,” an officer told Jim Hastings. “You won’t be able to forget what you see.”
Hastings’s parents called for Cochran to be sentenced to life.
He will be eligible for parole after serving at least 30 years.
“I believe if he gets out of prison, he's going to do the same thing to somebody else. I'd hate that my daughter died and he goes and does it to somebody else," Jim Hastings told the jury, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Cochran was originally charged with capital murder. He was found guilty of the lesser charge of murder, after the jury reportedly appeared deadlocked on whether prosecutors proved Hastings had been kidnapped, an integral part of finding Cochran guilty of the higher charge.
Cochran has a lengthy criminal history and prosecutors said he was full of “violent urges, sexual urges.”
He was arrested in 2014 for raping his ex-girlfriend's 17-year-old daughter, but was found not guilty in that case.
Hastings was remembered for her generous and outgoing nature, and was called a “light to everybody.”
"Zoe was vivacious, beautiful, always willing to help, and a ball of energy that was always ready to make you smile," a GoFundMe page created after her death said.