Marine Pleads Guilty In Death Of Fellow Marine

A Cherry Point Marine has pleaded guilty in connection with the death of another Marine.

Lionel Loya pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for the death of Jonathan Rodriguez. He was sentenced to serve between 13 and 16 months in prison.

Judge Ken Crow said it would not be fair to give Loya the maximum sentence given the lack of a prior record. Crow says he decided against probation for the Marine because of Loya's reckless behavior.

Back in December Havelock police said Loya showed a weapon during a friendly discussion over a sports event. They say Rodriguez was killed in the ensuing gunfire.

Rodriguez's Texas family traveled to Eastern Carolina late last week to express their concern over the possible jail time Loya might receive and how the police investigation into the death was handled.

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The family of a Marine killed by another is in eastern Carolina because they're not satisfied with the police investigation and want to make sure justice is served.

On Tuesday, Lionel Loya heads to court---he's accused of shooting and killing fellow Cherry Point Marine Jonathan Rodriguez back in December. Authorities say it was accidental, but the victim's family doesn't believe that.

In an extremely emotional conversation, Rodriguez's family told us they believe all evidence isn't being looked at. Authorities tell us on December 6th, Rodriguez was watching a sports game at the Havelock home of Loya. Officials say Loya broke out a gun, the two got into a fight and the firearm accidentally discharged. But Rodriguez's family isn't so sure and is heartbroken about the situation.

Rosie Espinoza, Rodriguez's Aunt, says "D.A.'s office says this was an accident. We're still crying our tears. Loya's still walking, breathing. Our way of talking to John, calling his cell phone and listening to his voice mail."

Carteret County district attorney Scott Thomas says there's no piece of evidence that shows Loya intentionally shot Rodriguez.

Loya is charged with involuntary manslaughter. According to Thomas-- Loya's attorneys have indicated he will plead guilty to that charge next week in court.

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  • by Gentrey Jenkins Location: Wilson NC on Jan 26, 2010 at 04:28 PM
    People get more time for drugs these days than a man gets for the killing of another human,,what a shame !!!
  • by get a clue Location: Afghanistan on Jan 26, 2010 at 03:37 PM
    These two Marines were very good friends. It was an accident. There were no hateful feelings or thoughts. The real story was not ever properly reported. I understand your comment not knowing the truth, but if you truly belive that they would give someone such a sentence for flat out old blooded murder, I feel bad for you. Yes this is an unbelievable accident because of the loss of life and if the loss is yours it's very difficult to be understanding BUT, realize the Marine going to jail will have to live with the death of his friend for the rest of his life. People that make comments like you can turn this into a accidental death AND an eventual suicide....
  • by Mad on Jan 26, 2010 at 01:04 PM
    People want to know what is wrong with our neighborhoods, cities, state even our country. It is the elected officals that we as voters put in office. 13 to 16 months for MURDER is a joke. I guess if I want to kill the man who molested my children when he gets out of prison, as long as I say it was an accident it will be ok. I was forced into a agreeing to a plea bargain. Can't wait to see what they do to Laurean.

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