Michael Lawrence and Rico Saldana found guilty of first-degree murder in Lay'la Jones homicide
Wed, 22 Jan 2014 22:14:39 GMT —
One of Saginawâ??s most sought after criminals is now facing life in prison after Michael Lawrence and his alleged driver, Rico Saldana, are convicted of first-degree murder in Saginaw County court.
Following a week of testimony and about 2 hours of additional deliberation, the jury's decision came down just before noon.
"Guilty of first-degree premeditated murder," said the jury foreman.
Layâ??la Jones' mother Julie Polk sobbed in the arms of Assistant Prosecutor A. George Best after hearing both Michael Lawrence and Rico Saldana's guilty verdicts.
"I know that someone else's baby won't die tonight with three people off the street that took my baby's life," said Polk.
Levonne Greer, Lawrence and Saldana are all identified by a witness as the men involved in the 2012 deadly drive by.
The prosecution says, the witness's testimony played a big part in Wednesday's conviction.
"It was very important just like the rest of the community itâ??s what we rely on what we need," said Saginaw County Prosecutor John McColgan Jr.
However, Saldana's attorney is questioning the man's testimony, and calling the death of Lay'la Jones 'a casualty of war.'
"The jury does what they do I'm upset with the verdict because I don't believe they had enough evidence," said Saldanaâ??s attorney, James Piazza.
"I was shaking I didn't know if they were going to believe they did this or let them go free," said Polk.
The verdict likely will mean Saldana and Lawrence won't see the outside of a prison anytime soon. After jury members found them guilty of first-degree murder and 19 other felonies.
But with one person who has not yet faced trial in connection with Lay'la's death, Polk is continuing her fight.
"I'm going to continue until the day I die if I need to do anything I'm going to be doing it because she is my daughter," said Polk.
Lawrence's attorney was unavailable for comment but James Piazza, Saldana's attorney, says once sentencing is complete he will begin the appeals process.