Crime

Last defendant sentenced in connection to double homicide in Tacoma

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An 18-year-old was sentenced Friday in connection to a double homicide in Tacoma.

Jesus Chuy Lopez Jr. pleaded guilty recently to second-degree murder for the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Francisco Beiza. He was the last of four people convicted in the case to be sentenced.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Kitty-Ann van Doorninck sentenced Lopez to 22-years in state prison.

Defense attorney Philip Thornton told the court: “He is a very immature, highly influenced young man.”

Thornton said Lopez stopped going to school in eighth grade in order to work and help support his family.

“I hope that all of this has left an impression on him,” Thornton said.

Judge van Doorninck at one point asked Lopez if he was smirking.

“You’re not taking this very seriously, are you?” she asked him. “... Do you want to say that you’re sorry that you killed a man?”

She listened to the teenager’s softly spoken answer, barely audible from the courtroom gallery, and said: “I don’t have much hope, Mr. Thornton.”

The judge encouraged Lopez to take advantage of the programs available to him during the portion of the sentence he’ll spend at a juvenile facility, then she wished him luck.

The other shooter, 18-year-old Andy Campos Roman, has also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He was sentenced Monday.

Judge van Doorninck gave him 16 years, three months.

Charging papers accused those involved of being gang members or associates.

Paperwork Roman’s defense attorney submitted to the court before sentencing said Roman was not associated with a gang until shortly before the shooting. Roman “feared he would be killed for not complying with the admonitions of the gang and cannot turn on the gang for fear of serious retribution,” according to the documents.

The paperwork also notes: “Almost no one has been able to support and care for Andy. The most stability he has had sadly has been his time in detention at Remann Hall.”

Ronny Daniel Fernandez, 22, and Joe Duque Martinez, 31, also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case.

Judge van Doorninck recently sentenced Fernandez to 15 years and Martinez to 14 years, six months.

Court records say Martinez drove the shooters to the scene and that Fernandez later fled with a backpack, possibly carrying the guns.

Charges against 18-year-old Katherine Elieth Ugalde-Torres and 19-year-old Marcia Judith Ugalde were dismissed.

Charging papers give this account of what happened:

Officers responded to a shooting July 24, 2018 near East Portland Avenue and East 44th Street, where they found Beiza fatally shot and a knife nearby.

About 10 minutes later a vehicle dropped 23-year-old Joshua Youell off at Allenmore Hospital in Tacoma. He was suffering from stab wounds and died soon after.

“The evidence is undisputed Joshua Youell died as the result of injury inflicted by Francisco Beiza,” the paperwork filed by Roman’s defense attorney said.

Detectives learned Youell wanted to meet with someone who allegedly owed him money.

Surveillance video showed Youell arrived with others in a vehicle, then Beiza arrived and the two men approached each other and started fighting.

“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,” charging papers say. “... 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.”

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Alexis Krell covers local, state and federal court cases that affect Pierce County. She started covering courts in 2016. Before that she wrote about crime and breaking news for almost four years as The News Tribune’s night reporter.
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