LaRosa to be sentenced today for brutal murder of neighbor

Tribune Chronicle file photo / R. Michael Semple Jacob LaRosa, 19, listens to testimony during an April 5 sentencing hearing before Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge W. Wyatt McKay. LaRosa will be sentenced today for the brutal murder of his elderly neighbor, Marie Belcastro of Niles, in March 2015. He was 15 at the time of the crime.

WARREN — Prosecutors want to see him in prison for the remainder of his life for brutally killing a 94-year-old inside her home in Niles. Defense attorneys argue there is no evidence of “irreparable corruption” and want him eligible for parole at some point in the distant future.

The resolution will come today when Jacob LaRosa, 19, is sentenced before Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge W. Wyatt McKay.

The hearing is set for 2 p.m.

LaRosa, who was 15 years old when he killed Marie Belcastro inside her Cherry Street home, will be sentenced to either life in prison without parole or life in prison with chances of parole after 20, 25 or 30 years.

Prosecutors also have asked the court to sentence LaRosa on each of the unique crimes he committed March 31, 2015, and not to merge them for purposes of sentencing.

Belcastro’s daughters at LaRosa’s sentencing hearing in April urged McKay to sentence LaRosa to life without parole to “protect society from evil, from his predatory nature,” according to Belcastro’s oldest daughter, Karen Kirk.

“I pray for a life sentence without parole. Marie Belcastro, may she be his last victim,” Kirk said.

LaRosa pleaded no contest and was found guilty in February of charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary and attempted rape.

The autopsy revealed Belcastro was badly beaten to the point where the late Trumbull County Coroner Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk could not determine how many times she was struck in the head. Her skull was fractured several times.

LaRosa at the hearing apologized for the crimes and asked for forgiveness from the Belcastro family.

“I think about what I did and all the things I have done every day and night, and I cannot forgive myself for the things I have done no matter how hard I try,” LaRosa said. “I have changed your honor and I want to make it home to my family someday and be with my family.”

rselak@tribtoday.com

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