Cochran Found Guilty in Murder of Zoe Hastings

Sentencing phase will begin on Monday

A Dallas County jury returned a guilty verdict Saturday against Antonio Cochran in the 2015 murder of 18-year-old Zoe Hastings.

Jurors had deliberated for nearly 23 hours over several days before reaching a verdict.

Authorities say Cochran, 37, abducted Hastings — who went missing after she had stopped to return a rented DVD while on her way to church — drove her to a nearby creek bed and sexually assaulted her before killing her.

The Dallas County District Attorney's Office had previously reversed its plan to seek the death penalty after experts found Cochran is intellectually disabled.

The jury of eight women and four men found Cochran guilty of murder, not capital murder, which means they will return for sentencing on Monday.

Dallas Police Department
Antonio Lamar Cochran has been charged with capital murder in connection with the death of 18-year-old Zoe Hastings.

Cochran faces up to life in prison.

Jurors spent much of Saturday in deliberations. After the jury asked another question Saturday morning, Judge Robert D. Burns issued a charge to the jury urging them to continue deliberations until there is a decision.

Cochran's murder trial began Jan. 11 with the victim's mother taking the stand where she talked about the night her daughter disappeared. She said family members used her daughter's laptop and "Find My Phone" technology to find the location of the missing teenager. When she and her husband arrived at that location, they were met by police and instantly knew that something was not right.

Cochran has a history of arrests and convictions dating back 15 years for crimes that include assault, theft and burglary.

As recently as February 2014, he was arrested in Bowie County, Texas, after being accused of raping a teenage girl in a car. The district clerk's office confirms that the case went all the way to a jury trial in January 2015 in which Cochran was acquitted.

Contact Us