Skip to Content

Somerton barber murder suspect sentencing delayed again

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The anticipated sentencing for one of the men accused of murdering a Somerton barber was delayed once again.

34-year-old Joshua Cota is accused of murdering 27-year-old Leo Melendez back in May of 2022.

Cota was initially given a reduced sentence of 20 years for second-degree murder back in January.

At his initial sentencing, Cota's plea deal was rejected by Judge Roger Nelson.

On Friday, Judge Claudia Gonzalez once again rejected his plea deal and offered a recommended sentence of 25 years.

Cota's attorney declined the new terms and withdrew his plea.

Melendez's mother shared her content with the judge's decision.

"I think that god is intervening because for the second time, a judge has rejected the plea," said Edith Martinez, Leo Melendez's mother.

The case will now be heard before Judge David Haws.

We will keep you up to date with new developments as they become available.

Article Topic Follows: Yuma County

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Eduardo Morales

Eduardo Morales joined KYMA as a reporter in September 2023. If you have any story ideas or tips, email him at

Author Profile Photo

Jalen Fong

Jalen joined KYMA in 2022 and is a morning anchor/producer. Send your story ideas to him at:


KYMA KECY is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content