A man was sentenced to life in prison on Monday for the brutal rape and murder of 18-year-old Zoe Hastings who was attacked in 2015 while returning a Redbox movie on her way to church. A jury took only six minutes to decide to give Antonio Cochran, 37, the life sentence, according to the New York Daily News. Cochran’s sister had begged them for mercy.
Initially, prosecutors sought the death penalty but changed their mind after finding out that Cochran is intellectually disabled. He will be eligible for parole in 30 years. There was no reaction from Cochran when he was sentenced. He had been convicted of murder just two days earlier.
Nearly three years ago, Hastings was abducted after stopping to return a movie at a Redbox, located in a Walgreens parking lot. She was then sexually assaulted before being slashed in her throat with a pocket knife according to police. Her parents tracked down her body through her phone. They found her remains in a creek bed.
Hastings' father testified in the Dallas County, Texas court on Monday. He spoke directly to Cochran, stating, “I hope you remember my face,” according to the Dallas Morning News.
A year before Hastings’ murder, Cochran was arrested for allegedly raping his ex-girlfriend's 17-year-old daughter. He was found not guilty of that crime. Apparently, he even gave off creepy vibes back in high school. During Monday’s punishment phase in court, a classmate testified that Cochran’s teen nickname was “Chester the molester” and that he stared at women in a way that made them uncomfortable.
“I think what he was due was to spend the rest of his life in jail,” Hastings’ dad told WFAA. “We didn’t make that choice. He made that choice.”
Hastings has been described as a "light to everybody." In 2015, just days after the teen’s death, her parents created a video to pay her tribute. In it, they spoke of her generosity and kindness towards others.
“Last week on Friday she put a note out in our mailbox. It was a questionnaire for our mailman and it said, ‘Dear Mr. Mailman. I want to know about you. What’s your favorite drink? What’s your favorite candy bar?’ It was a couple of other things and she just wanted to like know things that she could give to him to brighten his day when he stopped by to drop off our mail. It’s really how she treated everyone,” her dad said in the video.
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