Charges expected in murders of Pierce County men

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on May 12, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Updated Thursday, May 12 at 4:15 PM

SEATTLE – Murder charges were expected Thursday in deaths of three Pierce County men in Kent late last year.

Alberto Avila-Cardenas, 36, is already in federal custody indicted on weapons charges, according to the King County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart. The King County Prosecutor's office is expected to charge him with three counts of homicide.

Jesus Avila-Bejar, 25; Yazmani Quezada-Ortiz, 26; and Cristian Rangel, 19, were last seen by their families Dec. 12, 2010 after leaving their Pierce County homes to go to work.

Their bodies were found March 10 near Rainier Nursery in unincorporated Kent. They all had been shot in the head and buried with their hands bound.

Avila-Cardenas came to the attention of Lakewood police a few days after the disappearances, Urquhart said in a press release. Detectives searched the suspect's home and vehicle and found a 9mm semi-automatic handgun hidden in the garage.

Avila-Cardenas was charged with unlawful possession of a handgun, but those charges were dropped in February when he was indicted by a federal grand jury on weapons charges, Urquhart said.

DNA evidence on the gun was later linked to one of the victims. Also, cartridges from the gun were found at the murder scene.

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