Marco Antonio Cota Jr. sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder and mutilation of human remains • Atascadero News

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — District Attorney Dan Dow announced that Marco Antonio Cota Jr. of San Luis Obispo was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison plus 21 years for first-degree murder and mutilation of human remains in the killing of 64 people in November 2021. Rick Fowler, years.

Cota was also ordered to register as a sex offender. The sentence was imposed by Superior Court Judge Timothy S. Covello, who presided over the trial of the case.

Fowler's murder took place in the Bianchi Open Space area of ​​San Luis Obispo on the evening of November 20, 2021. The area contained several unauthorized encampments for the homeless population.


At trial, jurors heard testimony that Cota and Fowler were involved in a verbal argument and that Cota followed Fowler to Fowler's campsite, where Cota attacked and beat him to death. Cota then pierced Fowler's body in various places with several wooden sticks, including penetrating the victim's rectum. When asked by law enforcement why he did this, Cota responded that he “wanted to show you what evil looks like.”

On February 13, a San Luis Obispo County jury found Cota guilty of the murder and mutilation of Fowler. After the jury returned its verdict, Covello found true the allegation that Cota had three prior convictions for “strike” offenses under California's three-strikes law.

Previous convictions included a 1998 robbery conviction in Tulare County, criminal threatening convictions in 2014 and an assault with a deadly weapon in 2016, both in San Luis Obispo County.

“Finally, justice has been served for Mr. Rick Fowler, the victim in this case, who was senselessly and brutally murdered and his body mutilated,” said District Attorney Dan Dow. “We are grateful to the jury for faithfully fulfilling their civic duty by paying careful attention to the presentation of the evidence. Mr. Cota received a fair trial and will now serve his just and appropriate life sentence. This sentence sends a strong message that violent crimes are aggressively prosecuted in San Luis Obispo County.

The case was investigated by the San Luis Obispo City Police Department, with assistance from the District Attorney's Office of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Melissa Chabra.

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