After 5 years, two Modesto residents have been given life sentences for the frenzied stabbing dying of a 19-year-old co-worker who later recognized them as she bled to dying on a lonely Livermore highway.
The defendants at the moment are recognized as 24-year-old Kate-Lynn Armstrong — who used to go by Daniel Gross — and Melissa Leonardo, 30, two Modesto residents who had been engaged to be married on the time of the assault. The sufferer, 19-year-old Lizette Andrea Cuesta, of Tracy, was using in a automobile with each her killers when Armstrong allegedly stabbed her 43 instances with a big knife.
Leonardo and Armstrong had been engaged to be married on the time of the stabbing.
In an especially uncommon transfer, Armstrong pleaded responsible to homicide nearly instantly after being charged. Leonardo additionally entered a no contest plea to second diploma homicide. Each had been sentenced Sept. 19, on the East County Corridor of Justice in Dublin, to fifteen years to life, with Armstrong receiving one additional 12 months to be used of a knife in the course of the homicide.
Passing motorists found Cuesta mortally wounded however clinging to life round 2 a.m. on Feb. 12, 2018, on Tesla Street in unincorporated Livermore. Affected by dozens of stab wounds and blood loss, she nonetheless managed to utter the names of her killers to the individuals who stopped to assist her.
Cuesta, Armstrong, and Leonardo had been all co-workers at a Carls Jr. and had deliberate to hang around that day, authorities mentioned. Leonardo claimed that the stabbing befell after Armstrong and Cuesta engaged in consensual sexual exercise within the backseat as she drove, including that it didn’t trouble her as a result of “I’ve been cheated on earlier than,” in keeping with court docket data.
Armstrong and Leonardo had been arrested simply hours after the homicide. Armstrong’s lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Eric Mirzaian, blamed the stabbing on Armstrong’s psychological sickness that produces hallucinations and mentioned Leonardo had triggered the entire thing by making a remark.
“Ms. Armstrong participated within the offense below duress not amounting to protection in that (Leonardo), who was pregnant together with her little one, made life-threatening risk to Ms. Armstrong that triggered command hallucination simply previous to the prison act,” Mirzaian wrote in an Aug. 11 letter to a probation officer.
Daniel Shriro, who represented Leonardo, mentioned his consumer by no means truly participated within the stabbing.
“When Ms. Leonardo was given the chance to resolve the case by admitting to the crime she truly dedicated, aiding and abetting a second diploma homicide, she took accountability and resolved the case,” Shriro mentioned.