WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The capital murder trial of Corey Allen Trumbull concluded on Tuesday morning, August 29, 2023, after a jury of six men and six women unanimously convicted him for the 2019 death of 11-year-old Logan Cline.
After the verdict, Digital Reporter Josh Hoggard spoke with the parents of Lauren Landavazo, the namesake of this critical piece of legislation.
“First of all, I want to extend our condolences and our congratulations to the Cline family for getting justice for Logan,” Vern Landavazo, Lauren’s father said.
Perhaps no two people better understand the pain of losing their child than Vern and Bianka Landavazo, whose daughter, Lauren, lost her life at the hands of Kody Lott while walking home from school in 2016.
“It’s hard to put into words just what it feels like to lose a child but how important justice is and to know the person responsible for your child’s death will never again walk the streets,” Vern Landavazo said.
Justice is something Vern and Bianka Landavazo never found, even after the trial of the man who killed their daughter came to an end and Lott was sentenced to life in prison but would become eligible for parole after serving half of his sentence.
“We were outraged when we found out the person who murdered our daughter would be eligible for parole in 30 years,” Vern Landavazo said.
Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie said that prior to 2019, the rules for capital murder in the state of Texas were different than they are now.
“Before the Lauren Landavazo case, the cutoff for the capital murder of a child was a child under the age of 10,” Gillespie said.
“We knew that we had to change that law and we knew we could not do it ourselves,” Vern Landavazo said. “Helping others is how you heal.”
Eventually, with the help of a few state lawmakers, Lauren’s Law was passed and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, raising the age for capital murder of a child from under the age of 10 to under the age of 15.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to Representative James Frank and then Senator Pat Fallon,” Vern Landavazo said. “Lauren’s Law would not have happened without them.”
In the case of Logan Cline and the capital murder trial of Trumbull, it couldn’t have come any sooner.
“Lauren’s law went into effect September 1, 2019,” Gillespie said. “Logan was murdered in December of 2019, so it was just in the nick of time.”
Thanks to Lauren’s Law, convicted criminals like Trumbull are automatically sentenced to life in prison without parole, however, the death penalty is taken off the table, and for some, that just doesn’t sit right.
“Why is Logan’s 11-year-old life worth less than a 9-year-old child that’s murdered?” Gillespie asked. “That’s an arbitrary distinction the Texas law makes and I would love to see that abolished and the death penalty increased.”
Gillespie said he’d love to see more change from Austin regarding the capital murder of a child.
“We’ve had Lauren’s law. I would love to see Logan’s Law now,” Gillespie said.
Even though there’s still work to be done, the Landavazos are thankful other families will be able to find justice.
“I’m glad this law is in place to put these monsters behind bars for the rest of their lives,” Bianka Landavazo said.
For their family, who on September 2, 2023, will have seen seven years pass since Lauren’s tragic death, it’s a reminder of the good that can be done even in the face of unthinkable heartache.
“She continues to guide from above,” Vern Landavazo said. “What happened to her is still impacting people, it still has an effect on this community.”