Feb 4, 2011 12:46 AM by Matt Stafford
A local family feels justice has been served after a Fort Carson soldier was convicted Thursday for murdering their daughter.
23-year-old Robert Marko was convicted of first-degree murder and four other sexual assault related charges in the 2008 death of a 19-year-old girl, Judilianna Lawrence.
It was the news her family wanted, and needed, to hear.
"October the 10th (2008) I knew, and it's been over two years and I've been here all the time, says John L. Lawrence, Jr., Judilianna's father. "We got him." It was an emotional verdict for Lawrence.
Judilianna went missing October 10, 2008. Court documents show Judilianna and Marko met on MySpace; and that's how Sheriff's deputies found their suspect, who was stationed at Fort Carson at the time.
Specialist Marko, a member of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, was deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom in January 2007.
In their reports the Sheriff's office says eventually Marko led deputies up Old Stage Road where they found Judilianna's body.
In court Marko pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, with the defense saying Marko was in an alter ego at the time of the murder -- a black raptor named "Rex 290."
Prosecutors from the 4th Judicial District Attorney's office say it was challenging case.
"It was challenging because of all the materials from Mr. Marko's past and all the evaluations," says Debbie Pearson, senior deputy for the 4th Judicial District Attorney's office.
The case was also challenging Judilianna's father, John, who's glad that they have a conviction.
"I can have some peace, maybe her momma can have some peace; and I can finally go see my baby and tell her we got him," Lawrence says. "I ain't been but twice since she died cause I couldn't go, I couldn't say nothing; but I made her a promise that I'd be here." He says he wasn't able to sit through all of the testimony -- he didn't want to disrupt -- but says he tried.
The case isn't over yet. Sentencing is scheduled for February 28th. With the first degree murder charge, Marko faces a mandatory life sentence without parole.
"All I can ask for now is that he gets 100 years," says Lawrence, "and that he lives to serve every single one of them."
Lawrence remembers his daughter, Judilianna, as a loving and kind girl who wouldn't hurt fly. He says Marko took advantage of that.