Girlfriend gets life in prison for killing Army veteran

Laura Messick shot Chason DeOca, slashed his throat, prosecutors say

SAN ANTONIO – The family of Chason Montez-DeOca asked that his girlfriend, Laura Messick, be sentenced to life in prison for the June 10, 2017, slaying of DeOca.

Following the family's testimony Monday, Judge Catherine Torres-Stahl agreed with the victim's family and sentenced Messick to life in prison.

A jury on April 15 found Messick, 32, guilty of murder. Messick asked that the judge, and not the jury, decide her punishment.

Messick shot DeOca, 40, in the chest at point blank range during an argument at his home and then slashed his throat, trial testimony revealed.

Prosecutors presented evidence detailing Messick's criminal history during the sentencing hearing.

Testimony from police officers revealed that Messick was arrested in May 2015 for driving under the influence during a crash while children were in her car.

Messick also had cocaine and a pistol in her possession at the time, prosecutors said.

She also was arrested for driving while intoxicated in 2017, at which time her blood alcohol content at the time was .17, twice the legal limit.

Messick did not testify during Monday's sentencing hearing. She submitted a letter and photographs to the judge for her consideration before sentencing. The letter was not read in court, nor were the pictures presented, during the hearing.

DeOca's mother, Rachel Montez-DeOca, and his brother, Chris Casias, testified for the state.

"Yesterday was the worst Mother's Day -- and the year before -- in my life," Rachel Montez-DeOca testified. "He wasn't there to say, 'Happy Mother's Day.'"

Rachel Montez-DeOca agreed with Casias when asked what she felt was an appropriate punishment.

"I want her to face life in prison," Casias testified.

Messick must serve one half of her sentence before she is eligible for parole.

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