Life in prison for man who robbed and killed friend's grandmothe - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Life in prison for man who robbed and killed friend's grandmother

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EL CAJON (CNS) - A man who took part in the financially motivated robbery and strangulation death of his friend's 73-year-old grandmother was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Jeffrey Carl Reed, 22, was convicted in August of first-degree murder, and jurors found true the special circumstance allegations of murder committed in the course of a robbery and burglary in the May 16, 2009, death of Eunice Cothron.

Sentencing was carried out by El Cajon Judge Patricia Cookson.

The victim's grandson, 29-year-old Brandon Hayes, was convicted of the same charges and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Prosecutor Kurt Mechals said the defendants, both drug addicts, wanted money and forced their way into Cothron's mobile home in Alpine, strangled her, then robbed her before partying on the proceeds.

Hayes had alienated all of his family members except Cothron, but even she took out a temporary restraining order against her grandson about a month before her death, Mechals said.

Defense attorney Bart Sheela conceded that Hayes killed his grandmother but maintained he wasn't guilty of murder because he didn't go there to rob her. Instead, Sheela argued, Hayes strangled and robbed Cothron when she told him that she didn't have his birth certificate.

After killing Cothron, the defendants stole the victim's car and drove to the border near San Ysidro, Mechals said. The pair spent two days in Tijuana after the slaying, with Hayes spending a lot of money on a personal dancer, the prosecutor said.

Reed's attorney, Tom Carnessale, said in his closing arguments that Hayes was a "bizarre, deranged" man who threatened Reed with a knife before the two went into Cothron's home.

Hayes and Reed met at a drug rehabilitation facility two weeks earlier and walked away from the program a few days before the murder.

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