YAKIMA, Wash. -- A Yakima jury reached a guilty verdict Wednesday afternoon in the murder trial of Jesus Fabian Perales.
Perales was found guilty in Yakima County Superior Court on charges of aggravated first-degree murder in the 2009 death of Francisca Hernandez-Ramirez, 14, of Sunnyside.
Detectives found the body of Hernandez-Ramirez in the Yakima River near Prosser. She had been reported missing since October 2008.
Investigators believed Perales killed the teen in order to keep her from reporting that she had been sexually assaulted.
Members of Perales' family were in tears in the courtroom, after hearing the verdict.
The victim's family declined to talk to KNDO, but a family spokesperson told us they are happy with the outcome of the trial.
Kenn Ramm, Yakima County prosecuting attorney, said Perales' conviction of aggravated first-degree murder means an automatic life sentence without the possibility for parole.
Perales is scheduled to be sentenced on February 17.