SLO County jury finds man guilty of murder, mutilating remains

February 15, 2024

Marco Cota


A San Luis Obispo County jury on Tuesday found 44-year-old Marco Antonio Cota guilty of first-degree murder and mutilation of human remains in the death of a 64-year-old man who was killed in open space behind Megan’s Organic Market in San Luis Obispo.

On the evening of Nov. 20, 2021, Cota and Rick Fowler, both of whom were homeless, were arguing. Cota followed Fowler back to Fowler’s campsite, where Cota attacked and beat him to death. Cota then pierced the body of Fowler with several sticks.

Superior Court Judge Timothy Covello determined Cota had incurred three prior convictions for “strike” offenses under California’s Three Strikes Law: including a 1998 conviction for Robbery in Tulare County and convictions for criminal chreats in 2014 and Assault with a deadly weapon in 2016, both in San Luis Obispo County.

Cota is scheduled to be sentenced on March 11. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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