February 4, 2014

North Richland Hills man sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing his mother

Justin Cody Collins, 24, initially was found incompetent to stand trial on a murder charge, but later was ruled competent. He pled guilty Tuesday and agreed to the 20-year sentence in a plea bargain with prosecutors.

A North Richland Hills man who pleaded guilty Tuesday to beating his mother to death just over a year ago was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Justin Cody Collins, 24, also pleaded guilty to assaulting a worker at John Peter Smith Hospital and was sentenced to an additional year on that charge.

Collins will have to serve at least half of his sentence before he is eligible for parole, according to a spokeswoman with the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.

“The sentence in this case was reached after serious consideration was given to balancing the safety of the community, the defendant’s mental health condition, and the desire of the victim’s surviving family members to put an end to this tragic murder,” prosecutor Rebecca McIntire said in an emailed statement.

Collins’ mother, Angela Lozano, 45, was found dead on Jan. 12, 2013, in her apartment in the 6700 block of Buenos Aires Drive in North Richland Hills. She died of blunt-force trauma to her head, the Tarrrant County medical examiner’s office ruled.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, on Jan. 11, Collins was moving out of the apartment when he began to argue with his mother. Collins told neighbors that he had been admitted to a psychiatric ward during the holidays after getting into a fight, and he returned to the apartment to get some belongings, the affidavit stated.

Collins punched Lozano in the face and choked her until she stopped breathing, the affidavit said. Collins’ brother found his mother about 12:45 a.m. Jan. 12.

A few hours later, North Richland Hills police arrested Collins, who had fled to his father’s residence. He was charged with murder.

After a psychiatric examination, Collins was ruled incompetent to stand trial, according to an order signed March 6 by state District Judge Robb Catalano. Two subsequent psychiatric examinations, one of which was filed in May and the other filed with the Tarrant County district clerk’s office Jan. 29, found Collins competent to stand trial.

This includes material from Star-Telegram archives.

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