• Alma Leticia Lazara-Leon

Mountain City woman pleads guilty to murder

Alma Leticia Lazara-Leon, 25, of Mountain City, on Thursday pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Rabun County Superior Court.

Lazara-Leon was arrested Nov. 8 by the Rabun County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia Bureau of Investigation after a Dillard woman reported to authorities that a dog had brought what appeared to be a deceased infant into her driveway. The ensuing investigation led authorities to Lazara-Leon, who has been held in the Hall County Detention Center for Rabun County without bond since her arrest.

Lazara-Leon was charged with malice murder, felony murder, second-degree murder, first- and second-degree cruelty to children and reckless abandonment of a child. In a plea agreement with the Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office, all charges except second-degree murder were dismissed Thursday.

Superior Court Judge Russell "Rusty" Smith, after much discussion with Lazara-Leon through an interpreter about her decision to plead guilty, accepted the plea agreement and sentenced her to serve 30 years in prison, the maximum punishment for the charge allowed by law. The last five years of Lazara-Leon's sentence may be served as probation, Smith told her.

However, her attorney, Public Defender Drew Powell, said because she did not have legal status as a citizen of the U.S., it's likely that upon her release she will be deported. District Attorney George Christian confirmed there was an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold on Lazara-Leon.

For more on this story, see the Thursday, May 18, edition.


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