Gavino Patrick Mazurek, 20, the confessed mastermind behind the
Mazurek (second from the right in the photograph), who'd agreed to testify against co-conspirator Martinous Moore, convicted Monday and sentenced to life, had previously entered a guilty plea in exchange for the sentence. He asked Piazza today to be allowed to withdraw that plea,claiming that his former attorney didn’t provide adequate council and had coerced him into pleading guilty by saying that Mazurek would surely be convicted and sentenced to life without parole if he went to trial (given the outcome of the other two trials, we say his lawyer was a smart man.).
In spite of his plea agreement, Mazurek refused to testify in Moore’s two-day trial. Another shooter, Marquez Tavron, has also been convicted and sentenced to life without parole.
Prosecutors said Alexander was killed because Mazurek was angry with him over an unpaid drug debt, and that Mazurek lured Alexander into an ambush at a Southwest Little Rock Waffle House, with Moore and Tavron acting as the shooters. Alexander’s body was later found in his Chevy Tahoe in a wooded area south of Little Rock.
Prosecutors said today that Mazurek was being pressured into asking to change his plea by well-meaning relatives. Many of Mazurek's kin were in the courtroom today, including his step-father, Doug Gentry. Proceedings were halted at one point when Gentry rose in the gallery and addressed the judge, saying, " It's an outrage what's being done to this innocent child." Threatened with removal, Gentry seated himself, and there were no more outbursts.
In denying Mazurek’s request, Judge Piazza said another trial wouldn’t be beneficial for anyone, and made reference to the pain the Alexander family has already suffered during the trials of Moore and Tavron. He then sentenced Mazurek to 35 years in state prison, minus time served from May 1 to the present.