Robert "Bobby" Lozano will have to serve half of the 45-year sentence a jury assessed him Monday for the murder of his wife before he can be eligible for parole.
"We are thrilled," First Assistant District Attorney Jamie Beck said after the verdict was delivered. "As prosecutors, we all want life in the appropriate cases, and this case was appropriate, we believe. But we certainly are not disappointed."
Jurors deliberated an hour and a half on the punishment. They had found Lozano guilty Friday after a two-week trial in Denton County's 362nd District Court, concluding that the former Denton police detective fatally shot his wife of 16 years, Virginia "Viki" Lozano, in July 2002.
Prosecutors Susan and Cary Piel rested their case without bringing any witnesses. Defense attorney Rick Hagen called Frank Lozano, a University of North Texas police officer, to testify for his younger brother. The elder Lozano asked the jurors to show leniency.
Hagen urged jurors to consider the personnel file of a man who dedicated 16 years to serving the public during sentencing.
But Cary Piel told the jury that Lozano did not have the excuse of being raised in a bad home, and that the two rows of supporters from his family were nice people. Lozano's parents are still married, and family members did not know about the affairs he was having, the prosecutor said.
Family members declined to comment after the trial.
Susan Piel told jurors that Lozano betrayed his young son, who was 11 months old when his mother was slain and now has only pictures of her.
"And there is Viki, the ultimate victim," she said. "Her son will have his birthday party in 12 days. She was never even able to attend one of them. He [Lozano] treated her horribly until he executed her."
Lozano was indicted on a murder charge six months after his wife's death, but the indictment was vacated two years after the crime, when then-District Attorney Bruce Isaacks wrote in a sworn affidavit that the medical examiner had changed his mind and ruled the death a suicide.
But pathologist Gary Sisler, who performed the autopsy, insisted that he'd never changed his mind or told anyone that he had.
District Attorney Paul Johnson took the case to another grand jury, which indicted Lozano a second time.
The defense team is reviewing the trial transcript as it considers an appeal. Hagen has raised concerns about whether Lozano's constitutional right to a speedy trial was violated.