A Tucson man is facing life in prison after he was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder and seven other felonies in connection with the slaying of his teenage stepdaughter.
Joshua Lelevier, 39, was also convicted on charges of abandonment of a dead body, voyeurism, domestic-violence-related surreptitious photographing and sexual exploitation of a minor in the May 2017 strangulation of 13-year-old Jayden Glomb.
The jury of five women and seven men spent less than four hours deliberating Thursday morning in the trial that began Nov. 7 in Pima County Superior Court. Lelevier was emotionless as the verdicts were read.
Jayden’s mother, Jessica Oliver, cried quietly from the second row of the gallery as the verdicts were handed down.
To convict Lelevier of first-degree murder, the state had to prove that the crime was either premeditated or considered “felony murder.”
Premeditation required a decision to kill, reflection on the decision and acting on the decision. “Felony murder” is a murder committed in the course of a kidnapping, which Arizona law defines as restraining someone with the intent to do physical harm.
The jurors agreed that the state had met the burden to prove both qualifications of premeditation and felony murder.
Jayden was reported missing from her Vail home May 11. Later that day, a construction worker found her pajama-clad body dumped in the desert less than two miles from her house.
Lelevier was arrested in connection with her death a few weeks later. Shortly thereafter, police found evidence that Lelevier had planted hidden cameras in Jayden’s bathroom and had filmed the girl in compromising positions.
Lelevier testified in his own defense, telling the jury he didn’t kill Jayden and that he’d been filming her to catch her drinking.
Attorneys for the state argued that Lelevier was sexually obsessed with his stepdaughter, who expressed concerns to her friends about his behavior, and murdered her to prevent her from speaking out.
“Ms. Oliver’s family and friends are incredibly relieved and comforted by the outcome in this case,” Oliver’s attorney, Julia Palfreyman, told the Star. “Justice was served today.”
Palfreyman expressed Oliver’s gratitude to the Pima County Attorney’s Office, the detectives who worked on the case, the jury and the community for its continued support, but she said the family was asking for privacy at this time.
“(Deputy Pima County Attorney Jonathan Mosher) said during his closing argument that we have the best justice system in the world, and today’s decision proves that,” Palfreyman said.
Lelevier has been in the Pima County jail on a $1 million bond since his arrest.
The state did not opt to pursue the death penalty in the case, but Arizona sentencing laws show that Lelevier will receive a term of natural life or life in prison, in connection with the first-degree murder conviction. Natural life means Lelevier would be behind bars until his death. A life sentence is usually a term of 25 years, but because Jayden was younger than 15, if Lelevier receives a life sentence, he’ll spend at least 35 years in prison.
Lelevier is facing varying lengths of prison terms in connection with the other seven charges. The sexual exploitation of a minor convictions are subject to a longer sentencing range than some of the other charges, since they’re considered a dangerous crime against children.
Lelevier is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 14.