Zoe Hastings was an 18-year-old Lake Highlands resident with a strong sense of faith who posed with the Book of Mormon in a senior portrait and who dreamed of serving on mission trips.
“She was always spreading the gospel,” her mother Cheryl Hastings said in a video interview in 2015.
Zoe’s life was cut tragically short when she disappeared on her way to church on Oct. 11, 2015, while returning a Redbox movie at the corner of Garland and Peavy. Her murdered body was found the next day, stabbed to death and laying outside the family’s minivan in a creek near the 11700 block of Dixfield Drive.
Her killer is asking the courts to spare his life, hoping for a leniency he did not show the neighborhood teen when he allegedly took her life. His DNA was found at the crime scene. FOX 4 reports that Antonio Cochran’s attorney says he is mentally disabled and should avoid the death penalty.
It is unclear what the Hastings family thinks of the request, but DFW CBS reports that a pool of 3,000 potential jurors are being surveyed to determine whether they’d be capable of imposing the death penalty if they found Cochran guilty. His trial is expected to start in October.
This isn’t Cochran’s first brush with the law. He has twice faced sexual assault charges in court, although he was not convicted in either case. Police say his motive for kidnapping Hastings was sexual assault.