A jury took about 30 minutes Friday to return a guilty verdict against a Panama City Beach man who shot his victim twice in the head and videotaped himself boasting about it from the crime scene, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.
Jonathan Lozada, 22, was found guilty as charged of Second Degree Murder Friday for killing Justin Reyes, 20, on Dec. 17, 2019. Under Florida’s 10-20-Life Statute, Lozada faces a minimum-mandatory 25 years and up to life in prison at his Sept. 29 sentencing before Circuit Judge Brantley Clark.
Prosecutors Peter Overstreet and Josh James presented testimony from 18 witnesses over two days and videos the defendant took of himself at the victim’s Panama City home. The videos included one of the defendant and others, including the victim, talking and joking at 11:20 p.m.– and one at 11:40 p.m. of the defendant videotaping himself boasting about killing the victim with his body visible behind him.
“This was a thorough, well-done investigation by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and the other law enforcement agencies,” lead Prosecutor Peter Overstreet said after the verdict. “This killing was the picture of evil based on the defendant recording himself after essentially executing the victim by shooting him in the head twice at close range.”
Testimony and evidence at trial showed Reyes was most likely sitting at his computer desk when he was shot twice in the head from close range: once in the face and once in the back of the head.
Lozada took some items from the home and returned home, where he showed one roommate the video he made, and a second roommate saw part of it as well. They called Panama City Beach police, but Lozada was not there when they arrived.
Beach police returned at 5:55 a.m. when Lozada returned home and they found blood-stained clothing and several rounds of 9mm ammunition on the defendant’s bed. Beach police determined that the defendant had obtained a ride from a friend, who, when located, said he had been with the defendant earlier and gave police that address, which was in unincorporated Bay County.
Sheriff’s deputies checking that house found the victim. A search warrant for the defendant’s phone led to the discovery of the videos. And the friend admitted he had been at that residence with the defendant earlier but left before the shooting took place. He later admitted the defendant contacted him after the shooting asking for a ride and help in getting rid of evidence.
“As a result of the tireless work and dedication of the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, justice was served today and the jury reached the correct verdict,” Prosecutor James said. “Although nothing will ever bring Justin Reyes back, I hope and pray that today’s verdict will provide some solace to his family. The citizens of Bay County are made safer by the conviction of Jonathan Lozada.”
For additional information contact Mike Cazalas at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 850-381-7454.