Jury selection starts for Oscar Lozada trial
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The murder trial of Oscar Lozada got underway in East Baton Rouge Parish on Monday, Feb. 6, as attorneys began the process of choosing a jury.
As of 6 p.m., the process had not been completed.
Lozada is accused of killing his school-teacher wife, Sylviane Finck Lozada, in 2011 and then fleeing the country with their daughter.
District Attorney Hillar Moore says his office will seek the maximum sentence of life in prison if the jury convicts Lozada on the charge of second-degree murder.
Sylviane Lozada, a teacher at Brusly High School in West Baton Rouge Parish, disappeared on July 5, 2011. Oscar Lozada was arrested in Mexico in 2018.
Their daughter, Angelina, was located at a school in Mexico near where she had been living with her father, investigators said. Major Todd Morris, a detective with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, had been tracking Lozada for years and located him in Mexico with the help of several federal U.S. agencies. In an arrest warrant filed in Sept. 2018, EBRSO detectives accused Oscar Lozado of one count of second-degree murder. A few weeks later, a Texas judge approved extradition for Oscar Lozada, clearing the way for his return to Baton Rouge.
Oscar Lozada has admitted on Oct. 5, 2018, to killing his wife, Sylviane, according to East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux. Lozada returned to East Baton Rouge Parish for the first time that day since he left the country in 2011. He was questioned by East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives and confessed to the murder, Gautreaux said.
Detectives said they did not initially file a second-degree murder warrant for Lozada when his wife first disappeared because they wanted to make sure he would cooperate with authorities and communicate with them. He eventually left the US and settled in Venezuela. Detectives also wanted to be able to track him in case he left Venezuela. They did, though, file a felony domestic abuse warrant.
Officials also said Lozada monitored social media and news on the case from the U.S. while in Venezuela.
Detective Todd Morris says he kept in contact with Lozada while he was in Venezuela until about mid-2016. Lozada then moved to Mexico by himself in 2017, leaving his daughter behind.
Detectives allege that surveillance video from the Lowe’s store on South Mall Drive in Baton Rouge shows Oscar, accompanied by his daughter, walking into the store on July 6, 2011, and purchasing 15 bags of concrete and nine 5-gallon buckets with lids and luggage locks.
Following the trip to Lowe’s, the warrant states, Oscar and his daughter, then 4 years old, went for lunch at Chuck E. Cheese. The next day, the warrant alleges, Oscar Lozado sent a text message to his boss saying he would be out of work for two to three weeks for surgery. On July 9, 2011, Oscar and his daughter boarded a flight to Venezuela, the warrant states. Detectives searched the Lozada home in Baton Rouge on July 22, 2011.
“During the search of the garage, crime scene analysts located suspected blood in at least nine different areas of the garage,” the warrant states.
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The blood was tested at the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab and found to be that of Sylviane, the warrant states. There has been no activity on Sylviane’s bank account or credit card since her disappearance, detectives said.
EBRSO detectives said they spoke to Oscar several times since his wife’s disappearance and, each time, he said he did not know where she was. Detectives said a search of records showed police had been called to the couple’s home several times for domestic disturbances prior to Sylviane’s disappearance.
That includes an incident in 2009 when detectives noted in their report that Oscar allegedly admitted he “snapped” and struck Sylviane, the warrant states.
The two had been married for six years at the time Sylviane disappeared.
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