Stephen Poaches was found guilty of two counts of first degree murder in the deaths of LaToyia Figueroa and her unborn baby. Poaches was sentenced to life in prison without parole as he waived his rights to an appeal in exchange for the prosecutors taking the death penalty off the table.
Figueroa was five-months pregnant when she disappeared in 2005. Her case drew national attention after a blogger asked national news organizations why the disappearances of a white woman had drawn a lot of attention while that of Figueroa – who was black and Hispanic – had not. (ABC 6)
What a sad state of affairs when an individual takes the life of two people because LaToyia Figueroa refused to have an abortion.
In his closing argument yesterday, Vega said Poaches had strangled Figueroa, a West Philadelphia mother of a 7-year-old girl, on July 18, 2005, because she refused to have an abortion.
“He asked her, and she said she would not have an abortion,” Vega said. “What do you do? You plan to get rid of her.” (Philadelphia Enquirer)
Of course the defense argued unsuccessfully that Poaches temper got the best of him and he killed Figueroa in the heat of an argument. Because that some how makes killing someone who is defenseless better. Just another defense trick to try and get the premeditation aspect of the crime taken away; however, thankfully Judge M. Teresa Sarmina saw through the nonsense.
Defense attorney Michael Coard argued that Poaches had strangled Figueroa in the heat of an argument, without premeditation.
“How many times has it been seen that a defendant with access to a firearm would strangle someone?” he asked.
Coard also noted Poaches’ statement to police that “I accidentally let my temper get the best of me.”