Man sentenced to life without parole for murder of 6-year-old - WNEM TV 5

Man sentenced to life without parole for murder of 6-year-old

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Rico Saldana Rico Saldana
6-year-old Lay'la Jones 6-year-old Lay'la Jones
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

A man convicted of the murder of a 6-year-old girl has been sentenced.

Rico Saldana was found guilty of first degree murder last month in the drive-by shooting death of Lay'la Jones.

A judge sentenced Saldana to life behind bars without parole Thursday.

Prosecutors say Saldana and Michael Lawrence shot the young girl in a drive by shooting in Saginaw back in 2012.

Both men declined to testify in the trial.

Before jury selection in the trial could start, Judge Jackson addressed a motion by Lawrence's attorney William White to move the trial to another venue.

White states "excessive coverage" of Michael Lawrence in both this trial and his murder case involving the killing of his former girlfriend, Angelica Olivarez as a reason that his client would not be able to get a fair trial.

Saldana's attorney, Jim Piazza, concurred but Judge Jackson disagreed – citing the Ken Bleuw trial at evidence that defendants in a high profile case can still get a fair trial.

In a separate motion, White asked that the trials be separated because Lawrence and Saldana had two very different accounts of what happened on the day Jones was shot and killed.

Prosecutors quickly pointed out that neither defendant planned to testify and point the finger at anyone else - so therefore White's motion was a moot point. The judge did not grant White's motion.

Michael Lawrence was also found guilty in the 2012 murder of Jones in Saginaw.

In July 2013, another man, JeVonne Greer, was convicted on 18 felony counts including murder, in the shooting death of Layla. He will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Judge Darnell Jackson presided over the case.

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