Sabrina Limon sentenced to 25 years to life as motion for new trial is denied

Sabrina Limon, left, is seen with her attorney Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, in court in Bakersfield, Calif., after she was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for her husband’s murder. Limon was convicted last fall when jurors found she conspired with her lover to kill her husband. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Sabrina Limon, whose trial for her husband’s murder was widely followed last fall, was sentenced Wednesday morning to 25 years to life in prison, plus 16 more months to be served after the first 25 to life.

Before handing down the sentence, Judge John Brownlee denied her new attorney's motion for a fresh trial.

Limon's lover, Jonathan Hearn, shot railroad worker Robert Limon in 2014 at an industrial complex in Tehachapi. Hearn agreed to testify against Limon and plead guilty to manslaughter to avoid a life sentence. He received 25 years and four months in prison.

Based heavily on what Hearn had to say, jurors last fall found that Limon conspired with Hearn to kill her husband. She was convicted of murder and several other charges.

Limon hired a different attorney after her conviction, and they argued that she deserved a new trial on the basis of prosecutorial misconduct, bad representation -- including what they claim was poor preparation before Limon took the stand -- and overly aggressive interrogation by police.

The new attorney, Sharon Beth Marshall, said her predecessor, Richard Terry, failed to use strong evidence that would've discredited Hearn, the star witness for the prosecution.

"This girl got railroaded," she said. "She's going to prison for the rest of her life and that's an absolute travesty."

Marshall's concern with Hearn originates with a reported interview he gave to investigators prior to Limon being charged in which he wasn't sure of Limon's involvement in the plot to kill her husband.

"Without Jonathan Hearn, there's no trial against Sabrina. Knock out Jonathan, knock out the conviction and the January 3 interview knocked out Jonathan," Marshall said. "Defense counsel didn't use it!"

Family representing the victim, Robert Limon, read victim impact statements prior to sentencing and expressed relief the trial was finally over.

"I'm just glad to see that everything is over," said Robert Limon's sister, Lydia Marrero. "I didn't want to have to go through another trial."

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