KENNEWICK, WA. -- More than a year after three people were found shot to death in a Benton County cornfield, a jury Monday found a Umatilla man guilty.
At the young age of 24, Francisco Resendez-Miranda is now facing automatic life in prison for the murder of three people, including one woman who was 9-months pregnant at the time of the brutal murders.
It took a jury 3 days of deliberations to find Resendez-Miranda guilty on all three counts of first degree murder. The jury also found him guilty on all aggravating circumstances, except one, that he knew one of the victims was pregnant.
In the courtroom, family members of the victims shared hugs and tears. Prosecutor Andy Miller says he is pleased the jury came to a guilty verdict for the families of Abigail Torres-Renteria, Victoria Torres, and David Perez-Saucedo.
"We can never bring back their children or grandchildren of all three families represented throughout the trial and here today," Prosecutor Miller said. "It's not a happy moment, but they were all relieved and I think felt good that justice was done."
The case is far from closed. Both the prosecutor and the defense agree that it took more than one person to commit these murders.
Investigators believe relatives of Resendez-Miranda may also be involved as well as other suspects. They believe all of them fled to Mexico shortly after the murders.
Prosecutor Miller says he hopes to someday bring them to justice as well.
Pesendez-Miranda is expected to be sentenced sometime in the first week of December.
UPDATE: The jury finds Resendez-Miranda guilty of murder in the first degree on all three counts.
Jury finds Miranda guilty of aggravating circumstances in the triple murder, except that Miranda knew that one of victims was pregnant.
KENNEWICK, WA. -- A triple murder case in Benton County is now in the hands of the jury.
The prosecution presented a lot of different pieces of evidence in this trial. Prosecutor Andy Miller argues, when you look at it as a whole, its enough to convict.
But the defense says that evidence doesn't even prove that Miranda was at the Benton County field where David Perez-Saucedo, Abigail Torres-Renteria, and Victoria Torres were found shot to death last August.
The prosecution argues the motive behind the killing was retaliation for a break-in at Miranda's apartment. And Prosecutor Miller say he doesn't need to prove to the jury that Miranda physically pulled the trigger, just that he was an accomplice in the premeditated plot to kill.
"The evidence shows, that whether he's a principle, the king pin or an aider and abettor, that he's guilty," Prosecutor Miller said. "And is then guilty of murdering David Saucedo-Perez, his friend!"
"Is there a reason to doubt?" Defense Attorney Shane Silverthorn said. "You'll find that there is reasonable doubt that Mr. Miranda did it and there's reasonable doubt that he was there."
The big argument in this case, as it typically is in most trials, is regarding the evidence presented.
The prosecution says Francisco Resendez-Miranda was at the very least, involved in the murder of three people, including one woman who was 9-months pregnant.
Prosecutors presented evidence like a bloody t-shirt found in Miranda's apartment, witnesses' who claimed Miranda had possession of a gun, possibly the murder weapon, and several witnesses who claim Miranda admitted to the murders.
The defense, on the other hand, claims the prosecution zeroed in on Miranda from the beginning after other suspects in the case fled to Mexico. And their only physical evidence that places him at the scene is a partial shoe print of a common shoe, the Nike Air Jordan.
"You all know that Nike Air Jordans are popular shoes," Silverthorn said. "There's a lot of them. The chances that Christian could have a pair, Archie could have a pair, Tony could have a pair, some other agriculture workers could have a pair, similar footprint, it's high."
"She's fighting for her life," Miller said. "She has her hands inside the belt, she's trying to loosen the belt, but they're stronger. She's losing blood from that cowardly shot to her neck. And they tighten that belt, tighten that belt."
The jury began deliberation just after noon and went home for the day at 4 o'clock without a verdict. It's unclear how long it will take to reach a verdict.
Miranda is facing several aggravating circumstances, including the fact that one victim was nine months pregnant.
If Miranda is convicted of an aggravating circumstance, he'll automatically spend the rest of his life in prison.