The Latest: Prosecutors: Verdict in transient deaths 'just'

AP News
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Posted: Dec 09, 2015 8:54 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The latest on the trial of a man charged with the beating deaths of two homeless men (all times local):

6:45 p.m.

A former Navajo Nation president says the verdict that found a 20-year-old guilty in the bludgeoning deaths of two Navajo men has resulted in justice for the victims' relatives.

Ben Shelly, who left office this year, says "justice has been served for the family and for a lot of the relatives" of Allison Gorman and Kee Thompson, who were in their 40s when they were killed in Albuquerque in July 2014.

Police say 20-year-old Alex Rios and two others attacked the victims as they slept.

A jury convicted Rios of second-degree murder and numerous other charges Wednesday.

A 16-year-old accused in the case took a plea deal this year. The third suspect has not yet stood trial.

At the time of the killings, Shelly called the deaths senseless and said the tribe was appalled by the attack.

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3:10 p.m.

Prosecutors say a second-degree murder conviction against a 20-year-old Albuquerque man in the deaths of two homeless men is "just."

Assistant District Attorney Vincent Martinez says that while his team pushed for a jury to find Alex Rios guilty of first-degree murder, prosecutors are satisfied with Wednesday's outcome.

Rios and two teenagers were charged with beating Kee Thompson and Allison Gorman to death with cinder blocks and other items as they slept in July 2014.

Rios' attorney, Daniel Salazar, had argued that his client witnessed the attack in a vacant lot but didn't participate.

He says the verdict shows jurors didn't find Rios as "culpable as the others" accused in the case. Salazar says he believes jurors held Rios accountable for his inaction the night of the killings.

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2:15 p.m.

A jury has convicted a 20-year-old man of beating two homeless men to death with cinder blocks and other items as they slept last year in New Mexico.

Jurors found Alex Rios guilty of two counts of second-degree murder Wednesday after hearing gruesome details about the attack on 44-year-old Allison Gorman and 46-year-old Kee Thompson in a vacant lot in Albuquerque in July 2014.

Rios had faced multiple charges, including two counts of first-degree murder.

Police say Rios and two teens killed the men, who were both Navajo. The attack led the city's mayor to establish a task force on Native American homelessness, though prosecutors have not said the victims were targeted because of their race.

The youngest of the three suspects was 15 at the time of the attack and agreed to testify against the others in a plea agreement.