Grandmother seeking closure as murder trial for grandson is at a pause

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–It’s been almost a year and a half since a 20-year-old man was murdered in Panama City. His dead body was recorded on a cell phone and shared with others. The suspect charged with the death is now trying to say he was incompetent at the time of the incident, delaying his jury trial. The grandmother of the victim is now speaking out and says justice is long overdue.

In December 2019, Justin Reyes was shot and killed inside a music studio across from Frank Nelson Park.

“It seems like it was yesterday, every time I go by that road, it seems like it was yesterday,” said Karen Maxwell, the victim’s grandmother.

The Bay County Sheriff’s Office arrested 20-year-old Jonathan Lozada for the death after learning he took a video of the body and shared it with friends. He was charged with second-degree murder and burglary. 16 months later and the trial is at a standstill.

“I’ve been quiet, I’ve done nothing but it’s time for it to go on and get it over with,” Maxwell said.

Last December, Lozada requested a competency hearing. This news shocked Maxwell.

“He was not insane. He knew what he was doing and he recorded it,” Maxwell said.

The competency hearing is scheduled for April 23rd. Maxwell has since written a letter to the court, pleading for them to get the trial going.

“They didn’t want the judge to see it, I don’t know if they were afraid to sway the judge but it’s just upsetting that nothing’s happening,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell says all she wants is justice and for it all to come to an end.

“You have got to have closure somewhere and this is gonna be my closure when this is over and that’s what I need, I need closure,” Maxwell said.

In the case, Lozada has a co-defendant, Bryce Cowan. Throughout their investigation, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office learned Lozada showed the video of Reyes to his roommate and he was the one who informed the authorities of this video. Because of this, they later learned Lozada was assisted by Cowan.

Cowan told investigators he had been at a music studio with Jonathan Lozada and Justin Reyes earlier that evening. Cowan reportedly saw the same video the roommate saw and then picked up Lozada from the scene and took him home

Cowan also reportedly got rid of evidence. He was arrested and charged with Accessory to Homicide and Destroying and Tampering with Evidence. His bond was set at $150,000 and he has since bonded out. His next appearance for a pre-trial hearing is set for July 1.

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