Two Mexican immigrants were indicted yesterday by a Baltimore grand jury in the slashing deaths of three young relatives, one of whom was beheaded and the others partially beheaded.
Adan Espinoza Canela, 17, and his uncle, Policarpio Espinoza, 22, who were arrested May 28, were each charged with three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of conspiracy to commit murder and three counts of using a deadly weapon.
Espinoza was the children's uncle, and Canela was their cousin.
The victims, Ricardo Solis Quezada Jr. and his sister, Lucero Solis Quezada, both 9, and their 10-year-old male cousin, Alexis Espejo Quezada, were killed in their Northwest Baltimore apartment May 27.
Police say they have not established a motive for the killings.
According to charging documents, Espinoza accused Canela of killing the children while Espinoza waited in a car at the scene of the killings in the 7000 block of Park Heights Ave.
Investigators found a filet knife near the site of the killings and a bloody shirt in the home the two men shared in the 4100 block of Bedford Road in Baltimore County.
James Rhodes, Canela's attorney, said that indicting the suspects this week allows prosecutors to bypass a preliminary hearing, scheduled for next week, at which the state would have been forced to divulge some evidence in the case.
He said he has not received any documentation of evidence against his client. "That tells me there are some problems with this case," Rhodes said.
Arraignments for the men are scheduled for Sept. 7 before Circuit Judge John M. Glynn.
The men entered the United States illegally, walking across the Arizona desert. Canela arrived in Baltimore in February last year to live with his father, Victor Espinoza. Before leaving for the United States, Canela worked in a creamery making cheese for $40 a week.
Lucero and Ricardo were the children of Canela's uncle, Ricardo Espinoza, and his wife, Noemi Quezada. Alexis was the son of Noemi's niece, Andrea Espejo Quezada.
The Quezada family is from Tenenexpan, a small town in the state of Veracruz. The children, who were born in Mexico, were buried in the Tenenexpan cemetery June 13, surrounded by hundreds of tearful friends and family members.
U.S. authorities gave the victims' parents, who are undocumented immigrants, permission to go to Mexico for the funeral. Local authorities expect them to return next month, saying prosecutors need them as witnesses in the case.