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Three convicted of various charges in 2016 double homicide

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jurors last week convicted three men of various charges in a double homicide that the District Attorney’s Office said “represented a disturbing influx of cartel drug violence.”

Brothers Eder and Edwin Ortiz-Parra were both found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and lesser charges in the August 2016 deaths of Daniel Chumacero and Juan Carlos Saenz-Ponce. Their cousin, Rafael Gonzales-Parra, was convicted of one count of second-degree murder in Chumacero’s death, along with kidnapping and conspiracy, according to the DA’s Office. He was acquitted of charges in Saenz-Ponce’s death.

According to prosecutors, at least two men opened fire inside of a home in the 300 block of General Marshall NE, killing Chumacero and Saenz-Ponce and injuring two others.

Ben Ortega, who represented Edwin Ortiz-Parra, called the verdict unjust. He has held that his client is not responsible. “I have no idea who did this and neither does the government,” he said Tuesday. “Every single shred of evidence that was admitted in this case had some reasonable doubt about it.”

Eder Ortiz-Parra’s attorney said they plan to appeal, and Gonzales-Parra’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

According to court documents, the FBI believes the men may be associated with the Sinaloa Cartel. The defense denies that allegation, and no evidence of a link to a drug trafficking organization was permitted at  trial.