A jury handed down guilty verdicts to two men accused of shooting a 7 month old infant and his father seven years ago. The murder verdicts against Donald Ortez-Lucero and Christopher Strong also included special circumstances.
Family and friends of Sean Aquitania Sr. and his son Sean Jr. wept in the courtroom when the guilty verdicts were read and their was jubilation outside the courtroom.
“We waited for this for so long and to get the verdict that we did we’re very happy and very blessed,” said Monique Dela Cruz, Sean Sr.’s fiance and the mother of the boy.
The complex case involved the home invasion of a drug house in which the victims were reluctant to testify. Aquitania apparently happened on the robbery and attacked the robbers after his son was shot sitting in his car seat.
A friend of the suspects confessed to several people that he was the killer and was arrested for the murders. But he was given immunity to testify against Ortez-Lucero and Strong. He and detectives say he Noguera, himself a drug dealer, was bragging to impress people.
But defense attorneys pointed their finger at Nobguera.
“I feel bad for my client and my client’s family, I certainly feel the jury made the wrong decision and I’ll certainly be appealing,” said Charles Bourdon, Ortez-Lucero’s attorney.
Ortez-Lucer’s grandmother said she didn’t expect a guilty verdict but that she was praying for him and the Aquitania family.
“He’s in God’s hands,” said Beverly Lucero when asked about his grandson.
Aquitania, Sr.’s mother said it was a long ordeal.
“This is behind us now, this part is over now, and you could call this closure for us,” said Sarah Aquitania.
The family will likely be back in court on May 9 when the pair will be back in court for sentencing and when family members can testify as to their feelings on punishment.