Court Tosses Conviction of One Defendant in 2017 Murder of Teens on Eve of Graduation

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A Maryland appeals court has overturned the convictions of one of four men who were found guilty in the killings of two Maryland high school students on the eve of their graduation.

The Court of Special Appeals ruled Thursday that a trial judge erred in preventing attorneys for Rony Galicia from eliciting evidence to show that statements that codefendant Edgar Garcia-Gaona made to his girlfriend after the killings implicated other suspects in the case but not Galicia.

Authorities have said that 18-year-old Artem Ziberov and 17-year-old Shadi Najjar were lured to a residential neighborhood in Montgomery Village in June 2017 on the belief that they’d be selling an extra ticket to their graduation ceremony for Northwest High School.

Instead, they were shot to the death in their car, with more than 30 shell casings found at the scene.

Prosecutors said the four defendants conspired to kill Najjar in retaliation for him stealing marijuana from one of their wives in December 2016 and running over her foot as he sped away.

While reversing Galicia’s convictions and remanding his case back to the trial court, the appeals court upheld the convictions of Garcia-Gaona.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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