Man guilty in murder over insult
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – Jurors deliberated a little more than two hours before finding a Nebraska man guilty of shooting a Colorado teenager to death – because the victim had insulted the defendant’s mother.Eddie Magallanes, 24, of North Platte, Neb., was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder and conspiracy in the Jan. 18 death of Joe Lopez, 19, of Greeley, Colo.The verdict brought cheers, then tears from Lopez’s relatives and family supporters.”It’s half over,” said John Romero, Lopez’s uncle. “We’ll be here next month when the other guy goes to trial.”Emilio Teniente, 21, of Greeley, also faces charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Teniente is Magallanes’ cousin.Magallanes’ older brother, Jesus, 29, of Commerce City, Colo., and Robert Riojas, 19, of North Platte, the son of the brothers’ sister-in-law, both provided testimony damaging to Eddie Magallanes during the trial.The witnesses told jurors that Teniente handed over the gun, then ordered Eddie Magallanes to shoot Lopez after all four left a party in Cheyenne.Romero said he wasn’t surprised by the verdict, noting a “great case” by Laramie County District Attorney Jon Forwood made it easy for jurors.”Their motive to kill Joseph was because he insulted (Magallanes’) mother? That’s a reason to kill someone?” Romero asked.For now, both the Magallanes and Lopez families await sentencing, perhaps a month away. The penalty for first-degree murder is 20 years to life in prison.District Judge Edward Grant ordered a pre-sentence investigation.Defense attorney Wyatt Skaggs argued that investigators did little to exclude Magallanes as a suspect and had no physical evidence to connect him to the crime scene.Magallanes wasn’t interviewed until after witnesses changed their stories and told investigators he was the shooter and that made Magallanes an easy target for prosecutors, Skaggs argued.”Justice was served, even though it won’t bring Joseph back,” Romero said.Magallanes supporters declined comment after the verdict.
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