Joseph Woodard has to wait another few weeks to find out if he will spend the rest of his life behind bars or if he can apply for parole after 25 years.
Woodard, 21, who was found guilty of the first-degree murder of Bradley Eaton during a botched 2006 home invasion in Chandler, was scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 2, but a sudden family emergency with Judge Connie Contes resulted in the continuance to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 16 in the Mesa Superior Court complex.
Police say that Woodard and Sergio Acosta, then 15, decided to skip school at Mountain Pointe High on Aug. 23, 2006, and wanted to smoke marijuana. They knew of a home in Chandler where Taylor Zavacky sold marijuana and they got Sergio’s older brother, Juan, then 20, and planned the home invasion.
During the invasion Woodard shot Eaton, a roommate in the house, and Juan Acosta left his gun behind while Sergio Acosta, driving the getaway car, missed the initial pick-up point for the duo.
Sergio Acosta was previously sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the murder of Eaton, after he agreed to a second-degree murder plea in return for testifying against Woodard. Police are still searching for Juan Acosta, who is believed to be hiding in Mexico.
After sentencing next week, Woodard still faces one additional charge, conspiracy to commit murder, because police say he tried to have two friends who talked with police killed because he thought they had “snitched” on him.