Superior Court Judge Robert E. Flournoy III immediately sentenced Armando Soto to life in prison plus 35 years.
“I am very pleased by this verdict,” said District Attorney Vic Reynolds. “This trial reaffirms our commitment to prosecuting acts of domestic violence in our county.”
Senior Assistant District Attorney Ann B. Harris, who prosecuted the case, said the killing appeared to be deliberate and calculated. Armando was accused of stalking former girlfriend, Angelica Robledo DeLa Rosa, 32, whom he shot five times in the parking lot of the Brito Supermarket on South Cobb Drive in Marietta on Dec. 29, 2009.
The state presented more than 20 witnesses, several of whom were family members and friends of the victim. Soto and Robledo DeLa Rosa had been dating for three years, but the witnesses testified that she had broken off the relationship.
Soto showed up in a white van at Brito Supermarket, where Robledo DeLa Rosa was employed, just after noon. He waited for her to arrive. He had a loaded .380-caliber handgun in the cargo area of the van. Robledo arrived in a truck driven by her friend, saw Soto’s white van parked nearby and became nervous.
According to Soto’s own testimony, he saw her in the truck, at which time he retrieved his gun from the cargo area and placed it at his feet.
Robledo asked her friend to drive her directly to the front door of the supermarket. Soto approached in his van from the opposite direction. He jumped from the truck and shot Robledo five times in her upper torso. He then turned and fired twice at Francisco Arriaga, the driver of the truck, striking his front windshield and blowing out his driver’s side window.
Later that day, Soto drove south from Atlanta and was stopped at 1:30 a.m. in Gautier, Miss., a small town just off Interstate 10 near Biloxi. He had a packed suitcase in the cargo area and the murder weapon in the passenger-side cargo door. Shell casings and projectiles found at the scene, on the ER stretcher and obtained from Robledo during the autopsy, all matched the murder weapon, according to the state’s evidence presented at trial.
Soto’s defense team did not try to deny the killing took place. They presented a theory of voluntary manslaughter. Soto testified that when Soto saw Robledo in the truck, “his blood started racing 1,000 miles per hour.” He further testified that when the truck pulled up to the front of the supermarket, he saw Robledo embrace the driver, at which time his “mind exploded,” he reached for the loaded gun at his feet, got out of the van and shot Robledo.
Robledo left behind several family members in Mexico, including a teenage daughter.
Soto, also known as Antonio Soto Carranza, was convicted of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of certain crimes, and second-degree criminal damage to property. The trial began Jan. 7 with jury selection.
Soto remains in custody at the Cobb Adult Detention Center. There is also an immigration hold on his release.