Crime

Two men sentenced for role in Tacoma incident that left two people dead last year

A man believed to be associated with Surenos street gangs was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday morning in connection with a Tacoma double homicide.

Superior Court Judge Kitty-Ann van Doorninck sentenced 22-year-old Ronny Daniel Fernandez after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Aug. 8.

Van Doorninck said the situation is sad, with two men dead and several other people going to prison, but added she’s glad Fernandez took responsibility for his participation in the crime.

Fernandez’s co-defendant, Joe Duque Martinez, 31, also was sentenced Wednesday to about 14 years, six months.

Fernandez and Martinez were arrested with four others following the death of 30-year-old Francisco Beiza and 23-year-old Joshua Youell in July 2018.

Andy Campos Roman, 18, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of second-degree murder in the case. Van Doorninck set Roman’s sentencing date for 9 a.m. on Sept. 5.

Sisters Katherine Elieth Ugalde-Torres, 18, and Marcia Judith Ugalde, 19, had their cases dismissed by the court Aug. 8. The dismissal document states both sisters spent time in the Pierce County Jail, and Ugalde-Torres’ time would get credit for the time she served — if convicted, she would face 6-12 months.

Ugalde’s dismissal documents say that “the State is willing to forego a conviction of this defendant for rendering criminal assistance by dismissing so that the State can use this defendant as a witness.”

Jesus Chuy Lopez, Jr., 18, the last person involved in the case, awaits sentencing.

The original charging papers for Fernandez from 2018 give this account:

Around 8 p.m. July 24, 2018, Tacoma police officers responded to a reported shooting near East Portland Avenue and East 44th Street. Officers found Beiza, “who had been shot repeatedly and was dead.” The officers found 22 9 mm shell casings and a knife near Beiza’s body.

Witnesses reported seeing a white Suburban-type SUV flee the scene.

About 10 minutes after officers responded, a white suburban arrived at Allenmore Hospital, and “Joshua Youell was rushed inside by several individuals. Youell was suffering from stab wounds and died shortly after arriving in the hospital.”

Those who brought Youell in fled the scene but were stopped by patrol officers. Ugalde, Lopez, Roman, Fernandez and Ugalde-Torres were in the vehicle. Another person was seen on surveillance video at the hospital and was believed to have taken weapons from the vehicle.

During interviews with detectives, Ugalde-Torres said Youell was stabbed for being a gang member. Ugalde said Youell wanted to meet with someone who owed him money. When they met, “a scuffle ensued between Youell and that guy.” According to the document, Ugalde said some of the guys got out of the car and that shots were fired.

Fernandez echoed Ugalde, and added Youell, Lopez and Roman were armed with guns. A fight ensued, and the man they were meeting was shot.

Roman said he was with the group but denied being a shooter.

According to the papers, a surveillance video showed Youell walking down a street and Beiza approaching. After gesturing to one another and the suburban, a fight ensued between the two.

“As this happens, three individuals, one after the other, jump out of the driver’s-side rear passenger door of the Suburban as it continues to move forward toward the confrontation … Though the video is not entirely clear, it appears Beiza sees the group and while he is trying to run away, Lopez and Roman begin shooting him.”

Staff writer Kate Iida contributed to this report.
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