Lalone, 21, Gets Life Prison Sentence For Sosa Murder

Thursday, June 5, 2014 - by Hollie Webb
Christian Sosa was 19 when he was killed
Christian Sosa was 19 when he was killed

A Criminal Court jury deliberated over six hours Thursday before finding 21-year-old Nathan Lalone guilty of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. 

The first-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life prison sentence.  

Lalone was 19 at the time of the 2011 slaying of 19-year-old Christian Sosa. 

Mirta Sosa, mother of the victim, said, "I am satisfied with the verdict and I believe God gave justice. My son never deserved to die. He was a good person with a big heart and was loved by many. Although justice was served, my life will never be the same. I will always love my son."

Prosecutor Brian Finlay told the jury on Thursday morning that Lalone "brutally killed Christian Sosa.

..He brutally killed him, he nearly killed Meghan Bennett, and he's guilty of murder."

However, defense attorney Kevin Loper told the panel in the courtroom of Judge Rebecca Stern, 
"Don't put away an innocent man. He's not guilty."

Lalone was accused of conspiring with three other friends, Blakelen Adams, Tyler Conrad and Sabrina Lovett, to kill Sosa.

According to the state, Conrad called Sosa and agreed to meet him at the Apison Park tennis courts.

Instead, police said Lalone dressed in all black and hid out in the shrubs, waiting for Sosa to drive up. When Sosa and his girlfriend, Meghan Bennett, arrived in her car, police said Lalone came out and started shooting.

In Lalone's initial police interview, he claimed to have been with several friends and told the detectives to "subpoena them."

 Prosecutor Finlay pointed out, "You didn't hear from those witnesses because they don't exist."

 He also told the jury that the times from the videos submitted into evidence did not add up. Adams, Conrad and Lovett were shown on tape at Walmart at 10:35 p.m., only nine minutes after the first 911 call was made. Lalone does not walk into Walmart until 10:52 p.m., wearing dark-colored clothing.

The prosecutor asked, "Do you believe those three, if they were all the way in Apison, drove all the way to the Walmart on Gunbarrel in nine minutes?"

Prosecutor Kristen Spires also noted during the trial that Lalone had repeatedly told police he did not have a phone. However, footage from Walmart shows him walking into the store while talking on a cell phone.

Prosecutor Finlay said, "All of this is consistent with the plan Sabrina said they had. It doesn't have to be a good plan."

He implored the jury to find Lalone guilty, saying that jury instructions said nothing about "throwing away your common sense or ignoring it."

 However, attorney Loper disagreed. He said, "Mr. Lalone doesn't buy anything from Walmart. He doesn't need a receipt. I submit to you he removed himself from the situation, met back up at Walmart."

He points out that in Lalone's police interview, Lalone cried when he described what he said Conrad did.

 Attorney Loper said, "That's certainly not the insensitivity that you get from Mr. Adams. Not one amount of sympathy or remorse in that kid's statement. He tries to act dumb and say he can't remember anything. He calls the deceased 'retarded.'"

 He pointed out that in Adams' interview, he said his mother was a lawyer and he knew "how this works."

 Adams also said, "I don't want to answer anything that could be incriminating. I don't know how the questions are, some of them are tricky." Adams was originally charged with conspiracy to commit murder but charges were later dismissed.

 Attorney Loper said, "He also says one thing that just blows my mind. 'Christian Sosa was carrying a gun on the night this happened.' Is he setting up a self-defense theory?"

 Conrad received the same charge but passed away in 2013.

 Attorney Loper also told the jury to remember that the witnesses had said during their testimony that they could hear each other being questioned at the police station because the rooms were adjacent. Adams could hear Conrad being questioned and Lovett could hear Lalone.

 Attorney Loper said, "Ms. Lovett. She made a pact with Tyler and Blake. Most importantly, she knows what she's got to do to save herself. Look at her in that interview room. No remorse, no sympathy. She seems blank...She hears Blake in the next room. She hears she's getting 20 years."

 He said, "Her words are the same as Blakelen Adams'. Anything different to her means 20 years."

The attorney also reminded the jury that no blood spatter or gunshot residue was found anywhere on Lalone or in his car. Adams and Conrad were never tested.

 In her testimony, Ms. Bennett said she initially believed Tyler Conrad was the shooter. Attorney Loper said, "Look at Meghan Bennett's initial belief. Right when it happened. She knows the difference in the way the two parties look."

 

 

Nathan Lalone
Nathan Lalone

Hamilton County Principals Say Part 1 Of TN Ready Testing Should Be Cut Due To Online System Failure; School Board May Join Request

Hamilton County principals are asking that Part 1 of the TN Ready Assessment be dropped this year due to the recent crash of the online system for the program. The principals also asked that any Part 1 TN Ready test results  not be applied to students’ grades or to evaluations and rankings for school personnel and school districts. County school board member ... (click for more)

Trial Date Set In "Circumstantial" Murder Case From April 3, 2014

An April 19 trial date has been set in the "circumstantial" murder case against an Atlanta man. Defense attorney Bill Speek on Thursday afternoon said the state has no evidence to show that Eric Fitzgerald Williams, 44, killed his associate, Daniel Adams, at the Pinewood Apartments in Brainerd on April 3, 2014. He noted that blood from Williams and the victim were inside the ... (click for more)

Innocent Until Proven Guilty, Even Athletes

From reading Randy Smith's column on the lawsuit against UT it is pretty evident that he never took a legal course in his life. I was under the impression that in this country one was innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It appears this no longer applies to athletes(particularly black athletes) in the U.S. in 2016. I have always said that if I am picked for jury duty ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Warmth For Cold Days

I come across all sorts of warm things every day and as we burrow out of sub-freezing temperatures for a day or two, shaking off ice and snow, allow me to share a few things for a change that may take the bite out of the winter wind. This is what helps me. * * * Judy Bellenfant, who has been a soul mate ever since we shared jokes in high school classrooms, sends along this ... (click for more)

Tyner Overcomes Central's Hot Start To Claim 47-42 Win

Central raced to a 12-0 lead, but decided to sit back and enjoy Senior Night. Tyner went to work. Tyner battled for 29-plus minutes before taking its first lead, fought off every challenge Central could muster down the stretch and knocked off the District 6-2A regular season champions, 47-42, Thursday night at Central High School. “Central came out clicking on all ... (click for more)

Hawks Alexander, Walker Invited To NBA All-Star Weekend

Hamilton Heights Christian Academy announced today that varsity basketball players Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, both nationally ranked juniors, will take part in the NBA All-Star weekend in Toronto, Canada. Alexander has been chosen to participate in the NBA’s second Basketball without Borders Global camp. Players are selected based on their outstanding ... (click for more)