The same Fort Worth jury that sentenced Kody Lott to life for murdering Lauren Landavazo and wounding her friend Makayla Smith heard directly from the parents forever impacted by that fateful day.
Vern Landavazo said always knew he was going to have a daughter, and Thursday he got to address the man responsible for taking her life in a senseless act of violence.
As word spread through a residential neighborhood that tragedy had struck, Vern Landavazo had no idea what he was about to find.
Shooting victim Makayla Smith’s mom Shameka Smith was also trying to figure out what was going on in that alley her daughter always walked down with her dear friend Lauren and other students.
That’s when she called Makayla.
“It was a scream I have never heard from her or any of my children, and I remember asking God to please keep letting her scream because I figured if she stops, she was gone,” Smith said.
Meanwhile, Lauren’s parents were racing toward the scene.
“I remember at one point stopping the truck and pulling over and thinking there’s 1,000 kids at that school, it’s not her,” Landavazo said. “It can’t be her.”
He said that’s when he called his only daughter— who he affectionately called “Pooh Bear.”
“Someone answered the phone and instantly I heard screaming, and I didn’t know at the time it was Bianca screaming, but at the time I could hear someone screaming her name and the way she was screaming it, I knew, I knew, instantly,” Landavazo said.
When he pulled up, from behind the crime scene tape, Landavazo said he could see Lauren’s Converse tennis shoes as she was lying on the ground alone.
“Just looking at her wondering how come they aren’t doing anything because she is just lying there,” Landavazo said.
He said at one point he had hope as first responders performed CPR, but then he noticed the blood.
“There was blood in her hair, and I just remember thinking ‘Oh my God, that’s not good, blood in her hair,'” Landavazo said.
Smith said at first it was like a scene from a movie at the hospital where no one was telling them much.
“I hear Bianka scream—and I knew by the way she screamed Lauren was gone,” Smith said.
Smith then had to deliver the news to Makayla—who investigators said was shot because she refused to leave Lauren’s side.
“She said ‘Why mom? Why did it have to be Lauren? She is so good, it should have been me because Lauren is such a good person and didn’t deserve that,'” Smith said.
Landavazo said his daughter was everything good in the world.’
“It just felt like from the moment it happened we were being guided from above,” Landavazo said.
Landavazo looked directly at Lauren’s killer in court and told him he may have taken her life, but he will never kill her spirit as he said they will make it their life’s work to ensure Lauren’s legacy is always alive.
The Landavazos have also filed a civil suit against Kody Lott, his mother and stepfather.
They are asking for $1 million in damages for physical and mental pain and suffering and for expenses related to the death of their daughter.
Throughout the trial, Gwyn Bevel and photojournalists Curtis Jackson and Foster Gains have kept Texoma up-to-date on the trial live from Fort Worth.
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