The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Mall shooter sentenced to life without parole

Alexander Kozak, 23, patiently sits before the judge waiting for his sentence. Kozak killed Andrea Farrington, 20, on June 12, 2015. (The Gazette/Liz Martin)

Alexander Kozak will spend life behind bars.

By Kendrew Panyanouvong

[email protected]

Alexander Kozak was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison, a judge ruled on the afternoon of June 6.

After a jury in Story County in April found Kozak, 23, guilty of murdering Andrea Farrington, 20, at the Coral Ridge Mall nearly a year ago, the expected sentence has been reached.

A room of family and relatives were present to witness the sentencing of Kozak. The life sentence without parole is mandatory punishment for first-degree murder.

Before Cheryl Farrington, the mother of the victim, read her final statement for the court, she plied Kozak with one request.

“Alex, can you please look at us?” she said, standing next to her husband.

And he did, as she became teary-eyed and continued to address him.

“I stand before you today, a broken person who has lost every sense of normality,” she said. “A person who grieves the loss of Andrea, not only for myself but for her family and friends and the world, which has no idea what a wonderful person they are missing.”

She said she will never ever again be able to hear her daughter’s phone calls or see her often-present smile, hilarious Snapchats, and texts.

“It’s just a relief to know that he’s locked and put away forever,” Cheryl Farrington said. “I don’t have to worry about it. We can go on and hopefully maybe start to heal a little bit.”

On June 12, 2015, Kozak shot Andrea Farrington three times in the back while she was working at the Iowa Children’s Museum information booth. Kozak had been employed as a mall security guard but was not working at the time.

Kozak’s intention to kill Farrington stemmed from an extensive texting relationship between the two that had occurred over several months, said his lawyer, Alfredo Parrish.

Parrish filed a motion in May arguing that mistakes made by the prosecution during the trial had prejudiced the jury against Kozak, what he called “prosecutorial misconduct.” He said that the cumulative errors made by the prosecution resulted in an unfair trial.

But Judge Christopher Bruns, who presided over the trial, denied the motion for request for a new trial on June 6, agreeing with Johnson County prosecutor Janet Lyness.

In addition to Kozak’s life sentence, he will have to pay $150,000 in restitution to Farrington’s estate, along with others costs that incurred during the trial.

“I took her life; that’s a truth I must live with,” said Kozak in his final concluding statement. “I’d give anything to fix this, but I can’t change the past. What I can do is offer my apology.”

Bruns had a bit of advice for Kozak after the sentencing.

“Mr. Kozak, I would wish you luck, but I don’t think that’s appropriate,” he said. “I don’t wish you ill. I hope that you find a better place.”

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