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Court & Trial

Man sentenced to life in Money Tree double homicide

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After calling it the worst case he’s seen in nearly four decades in law, a Yakima County Superior Court judge sentenced Manuel Enrique Verduzco Jr. to 2 life sentences without the possibility of parole for the murders of 2 women in a Money Tree, payday lending store two years ago.

After calling it the worst case he’s seen in nearly four decades in law, a Yakima County Superior Court judge sentenced Manuel Enrique Verduzco Jr. to 2 life sentences without the possibility of parole for the murders of 2 women in a Money Tree, payday lending store two years ago.

“It was a horrific crime somewhat inexplicable given Mr. Verduzco’s lack of criminal history, but a deliberate and cold-blooded murder of two people who did nothing more than go to work that morning,” Judge Michael McCarthy said in court.

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The jury, he said, made the right choice in rejecting an insanity defense. The sentence came after emotional statements from friends and family members of the victims. Yakima Herald reported.

“Knowing how close we all came (to death) not only scares us but gives us guilt,” said MoneyTree branch manager Dena Bird.

On the day they were killed outside the Money Tree in March 2016, neither Karina Morales-Rodriguez, 27, of Toppenish nor Marta Martinez, 30, of Yakima were scheduled to open the store but had switched shifts with other workers. One of the women who was killed agreed to work Saturday because she wanted to attend Easter service the following day.

“How do we look their families in the face knowing we’re still here, but they’re not?” Bird said.

By not pleading guilty and “taking responsibility for his actions,” Verduzco has tormented the families of his victims, said Gabriel Piñon, husband of Morales-Rodriguez and Toppenish City Council member.



“She was my soulmate,” he said. “She was a daughter. She was a mother. She was a friend.”

Also testifying was Morales-Rodriguez’s sister.

“Every day I think about (Martinez),” said Michelle Martinez. “I find myself longing to hear her laugh. I miss cracking jokes with her.

“I lost a sister. I lost a best friend,” she continued. “I live every day missing her and wishing she was here.”

Verduzco’s defense attorneys had argued he was experiencing a schizophrenic episode when he killed the women, an argument for which several doctors and friends provided supporting testimony.

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However, other doctors said Verduzco had been faking symptoms of the illness. Prosecutors instead blamed the deaths on a robbery gone bad.

Verduzco’s conviction followed a trial that lasted more than two weeks.

On Friday, Verduzco’s defense attorney, Peter Mazzone, said he’s not ready to give up.

“Go ahead and sentence him and we’ll file our appeal paperwork today,” he said.

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Court & Trial

Nanny gets life in prison in fatal stabbings of two children

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The nanny convicted of murder two children left in her care in their Manhattan apartment was sentenced and will spend the rest of her life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The nanny convicted of murder two children left in her care in their Manhattan apartment was sentenced and will spend the rest of her life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Yoselyn Ortega murdered 6-year-old Lucia Krim and 2-year-old Leo Krim inside their Upper West Side apartment in Manhattan on October 25, 2012. She learned her fate after emotional impact statements by the victim’s parents. ABC7 New York reported.

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Mother Marina Krim told a judge that Ortega instead destroyed her own family. She said Ortega had shown no remorse, and no one in her family has ever said they were sorry.



The nanny Yoselyn Ortega was sentenced to 25 years on each count of first-degree murder, to run consecutively, meaning she would serve a minimum of 50 years. She was convicted in April 2018 after her lawyers argued she was mentally ill and couldn’t be held responsible for their deaths.

Prosecutor say Ortega knew what she was doing and understood “every stab, every slash” as she slaughtered the children.

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The children’s mother found them in a bathroom. The parent’s testimony made jurors weep during the emotional trial.

Prosecutor said the motive was Ortega’s mounting financial troubles and her deep resentment of the Krims.

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Court & Trial

Woman awarded $8 million after wrongful termination from Chipotle restaurant

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A jury on Thursday ruled in favor of a woman wrongfully terminated from a Chipotle restaurant in Fresno California.

A jury on Thursday ruled in favor of a woman wrongfully terminated from a Chipotle restaurant in Fresno California.

Jeannette Ortiz was awarded $8 million after she was fired from her managing position in 2015. ABC7 News reported.

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Chipotle accused Ortiz of stealing $636 and claimed there was surveillance video evidence of it, but the company never produced the video.



Chipotle restaurant issued a statement saying they were disappointed with the verdict and planned to appeal the outcome.

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Court & Trial

Venezuelan model gets 20 months in prison for extortion plot

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Venezuelan model was sentenced to 20 months and 15 days in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for her participation in an extortion plot.

Venezuelan model was sentenced to 20 months and 15 days in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for her participation in an extortion plot.

Additionally, U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard ordered Venezuelan model to pay at least $841.20 in restitution and prohibited her from using social media and email during her sentence and the term of supervision.

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On February 14, 2018, following a two and a half week Miami jury trial, Brigith Dayana Gomez, 29, of Venezuela was convicted on all counts of the charged indictment.



One count of conspiracy to transmit an interstate extortionate communication.
Three counts of interstate transmission of an extortionate communication.
One count of interstate travel in aid of racketeering.

According to U.S. Attorney’s Office, Gomez and co-defendant Carolina Del Carmen Roldan planned to extort a victim, residing in Broward County in Florida, out of tens of thousands of dollars. If the victim did not comply with the demands for payment, the defendants threatened to damage the victim’s reputation and business prospects.

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Gomez was residing in Los Angeles, California, while Del Carmen Roldan was residing in Miami, Florida, during the extortion conspiracy. Both women, originally from Venezuela, had previously obtained U.S. visas to reside in the United States.

Del Carmen Roldan previously pled guilty to participating in the conspiracy to transmit an interstate extortionate communication and was sentenced to 14 months and 15 days in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release.

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