‘Intellectual challenges’ takes death penalty off the table in Zoe Hastings case

Zoe Hastings, from a missing persons flier circulated Sunday night.

Police say Antonio Cochran stabbed 18-year-old Zoe Hastings and left her to die outside her family’s minivan in a Lochwood creek bed in October 2015. She was a bright and faithful girl, who had stopped to return a movie on her way to church when Cochran abducted her from the Walgreens at Peavy and Garland.

Despite his DNA being found at the crime scene, and a violent history, his attorney asked that his life be spared from the death penalty as the case prepares to go to trial. Last week, the request was granted when the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office agreed that Cochran suffers from “intellectual challenges.” In a statement, the DA said:

“It came to our attention that the defendant may have had some intellectual challenges. As a result, we were pro-active in requesting the court’s permission for an evaluation. Our expert’s findings are such that the defendant does fit the current legal definition of a person with an intellectual disability. We are not seeking the death penalty in this case because the current law states an individual who has been diagnosed with an intellectual disability is not eligible for the death penalty. However, we remain committed to seeking justice on behalf of Zoe Hastings and her family.”

Cochran’s trial is expected to start in January.

Antonio Cochran is heading to trial for the murder of Zoe Hastings.

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