Man pleads guilty to murdering child; sentenced to life in prison

After pleading guilty in the killing of 13-month-old Damien King, Justin Mitchell Lastra silently said “sorry” to four members of the Guthrie Police Department as he was being escorted out of a Logan County courtroom.

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Lastra changed his not guilty plead of first degree murder to guilty and will spend the rest of his life in the state penitentiary without the possibility of parole.

“We are comfortable with this outcome and he’s going to be where he belongs,” District Attorney Laura Austin Thomas said following the sentencing.

The punishment was handed down Friday morning in front of Judge Luke Duel.

When the judge asked Lastra what led to the murder charge, Lastra responded, “I murdered Damien King.”

Justin Lastra was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a 13-month-old child.

In January 2019, Lastra called 911 stating the child had fallen down the stairs of the home and was unresponsive. The child was taken to Mercy Logan County Hospital before being transported to OU Medical Center where he died two days later with a brain injury. Related article: Mother, boyfriend arrested for first degree murder

Lastra was the boyfriend to the child’s mother, Michelle King, and had lived in the home for only four months. Michelle King has been charged with child abuse for allowing the abuse to go on.

In September, Michelle King was bound over for trial following a preliminary hearing, which enough evidence was found that the crime was committed. She continues to sit in the county jail on a $500,000 bond.

With no biological family in the courtroom for the child on Friday, Thomas recognized five Guthrie police officers and an OSBI agent there for Damien King.

“This group of people are the family and the voice of the child,” Thomas said. The police officers served as pallbearers at the child’s funeral.

“It’s just sad when whoever cares about the child is only us,” Thomas said following the hearing. “Having all of them (officers) in the courtroom said enough to Judge Duel.”

Thomas says Lastra had a terrible childhood, but that it “doesn’t excuse this in the slightest. This just proves how dangerous he is and always will be.”

Lastra had pleaded guilty to nine charges since 2008 in Payne County.

Lastra’s attorney requested his client receive the proper medication and safety for when he is taken into custody by the Department of Corrections.

1 Comment on "Man pleads guilty to murdering child; sentenced to life in prison"

  1. Stephanie King | March 16, 2020 at 9:50 am | Reply

    This is a sad and heart wrenching story!! Damiens real family has been through so much from the time we got the call that our sweet baby Damien Kai King was horrifically murdered. The 2 days we spent in the protective pediatric ICU with our grandson, including when they pulled him off life support. Seeing all the bruises all over his tiny body is a sight we can never under or ever forget!! Then to have to clean out the house where our grandson was murdered in!! We planned and had the funeral where we asked Guthrie PD to be the pallbearers. Damien King HAS family and we are heartbroken. We have been to every court date and when we could possibly get a little closure we were not informed of the plea and court date. We Damiens FAMILY were denied that and then read in the paper that no family is there for him just boils my blood since we have been to every court date except the one they had last minute without informing all his family so we had the right to see this monster locked up!! You should check your facts and not print such out right lies!! We the family do thank Guthrie PD and the first responders for all they did. It would have been nice to have been standing by them when they got their sorry. The family was denied ours!!! Damien Kai King has both sets of loving grandparents and many aunts and uncles that love him dearly and always will.

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