Prosecutors worked to tie Espinoza Perez and his nephew together, though only one man was in the courtroom. They argued that evidence from the autopsies showed that the children had been killed by two people.

The prosecution told a story of the days and hours before the children's death. A neighbor testified that both defendants had been seen behind the apartment two days before the killings, which prosecutors said showed that the defendants had reconnoitered.

Prosecutors said phone records showed that Juarez Hernandez and Espinoza Perez had been in close communication the day of the killings and that she had delayed the children's parents from getting home at the usual time. Juarez Hernandez is in prison in Mexico in a separate murder case and was not available to testify at Espinoza Perez's trial.

Investigators had bloodied clothing that they contended would have provided DNA evidence linking the two men to the crime, but a judge had ruled much of it inadmissible for the third trial. Murphy said he will be in court Wednesday to argue against the admissibility of some of the remaining DNA evidence ahead of Espinoza Canela's trial.

Panteleakis said he plans to appeal the verdict and to seek a new trial for Espinoza Perez.

The attorney said the jury might have been swayed more by the emotions raised by the case than by the evidence.

"No one wants to think there's killers on the street," he said.

A previous version of this story mischaracterized the murder charges that Espinoza Perez was facing. The Sun regrets the error.