Plaza Motel killers sentenced to life in prison - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Plaza Motel killers sentenced to life in prison

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

A week of testimony from eye witnesses and an audio recording that captures the murder of a Fort Benning contractor on tape sealed the fate of two Columbus men accused of murder.

Dominique Lowe, 25, and Calvin Denson, 21, were found guilty of the September 9, 2011 murder and robbery of 38-year-old Julian Hernandez.  

It happened the Plaza Motel on Victory Drive after a drug deal turned into a "crime of opportunity" according to Assistant District Attorney George Flournoy. 

The pair was back in court Monday afternoon awaiting their sentence.  Lowe and Denson's defense attorneys asked Judge Tracy Moulton Jr. to consider their clients' age at the time of the murder.

Denson's attorney Tim Flournoy said Denson was only a teenager when the crime occurred and was not fully matured; he was 19 at the time.

Judge Moulton sentenced them to spend the rest of their adult lives behind bars.

"[We are] sorely disappointed in the verdict. Mr. Denson and I were both disturbed that a Muscogee County jury would convict him of murder based on the testimony of the two ladies that have lived a life of crime," Flournoy said.

The prosecution said the testimony of the eye witnesses helped but it was the audio recording that won the case.

"We discovered a piece of evidence (audio tape) really late in the trial back on March 19, before that, [the witnesses] credibility was really an issue but once we had the tape of the actual event, you no longer had to rely on their credibility you could hear for yourself what was going on," Libscomb said.

Denson was found guilty of all three charges including malice murder, felony murder and armed robbery.

Denson received an additional 20 years for the armed robbery charge. He's ordered to serve 10 in prison and 10 on probation, concurrent with the life sentence.

Lowe was found guilty of felony murder and armed robbery. The charges were merged together; he was sentenced to life in prison.

According to current law, a person serving a life sentence must serve 30 years before being considered for parole.

Both Lowe and Denson will be in their 50's when they are eligible to get out of prison.

Both attorneys say they will appeal the decision.

The courtroom was very different compared to the previous week. The family members that burst from the courtroom screaming and crying were nowhere in sight.

Lowe's defense attorney Ray Lakes declined to speak o n camera but spoke with us after the hearing. Lakes said Lowe's family was too distraught to attend the hearing and they would be submitting a request for a new trial in the coming days.

A small group of Denson's family was there; after the hearing they praised Flournoy for the job he'd done.

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