Men Convicted of Murdering Teens in Gaithersburg the Night Before Their Graduation

The two teens were set to graduate from Northwest High School the day after their murders

Two men were convicted Monday for the murder of two Maryland teenagers, killed the night before their high school graduations in Montgomery County.

Rony Galicia and Edgar Garcia-Gaona were found guilty on six charges each, including murder and conspiracy to commit murder, in the deaths of 17-year-old Shadi Adi Najjar and 18-year-old Artem Ziberov in June 2017.

Prosecutors said Galicia and Garcia-Gaona were two of four men who led the teens to their deaths.

"They were being lured to their own executions," Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy said at a news conference at Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville.

The fathers of both young victims spoke Monday. 

"Losing a child is already a tragedy. An only child is even worse," said Shadi Adi Najjar's father, Adi Najjar. 

Najjar and Ziberov were found shot to death on June 5, 2017, in a blue Honda Civic in Montgomery Village. Both teens were set to graduate from Northwest High School the next day. The teens were set to meet with Garcia-Gaona's brother Roger Garcia, 20, to reportedly sell him an extra ticket to the high school graduation ceremony, police said. Instead, police say Garcia, Garcia-Gaona, Galicia and a fourth suspect, Jose Canales-Yanez, met the teens and opened fire.

Police said Najjar was shot four times and Ziberov 10 times.

"Everyone who participated in this crime was a shooter," McCarthy said.

Police have said revenge was a motive in Najjar's killing, after they learned during their investigation that Najjar was rumored to have committed a robbery in late 2016. Najjar's family disputed the allegation.

Galicia and Garcia-Gaona are set to be sentenced January 22. Prosecutors requested life without parole. 

CORRECTION (Nov. 19, 2018, 4:28 p.m.) A previous version of this story erroneously stated that Galicia and Garcia-Gaona had been sentenced. They were convicted Monday and are set to be sentenced in January.

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