WOODLAND, N.C. — After a six-year investigation and litigation, a guilty verdict was reached in the murder case of Woodland teens Enrique Rios and Elijah Moore, the Yolo County District Attorney's Office said Thursday.
"It felt like the judge was taking forever to say to the clerk, go ahead and read the verdicts. But as soon as we heard it, I cried even more. I was so happy," said Lola Rios Gutierrez, mother of Enrique Rios.
On Wednesday, May 11, Chandale Shannon, 25, and Jesus Campos, 22, were found guilty in the Superior Court of Yolo County on two counts of first-degree murder and kidnapping.
Prosecutors say on Oct. 17, 2016, then 16-year-old Elijah Moore robbed David Froste, Chandale Shannon and Jesus Campos of three ounces of marijuana. After the robbery, Froste contacted his brother Jonathan, telling him about the incident and said he was going to get his gun from their home in Knights Landing.
Shannon and Campos reportedly heard the call, which was recorded on David's phone and later obtained by investigators. After getting his gun, David, Shannon and Campos met with Jonathan where David advised he wanted to find Moore and exact revenge.
Shannon suggested the group reach out to a friend of Moore's, 16-year-old Enrique Rios. Shannon communicated with Rios who provided Shannon with an address in Esparto, unaware of what Moore had done.
Cell phone tower and location data showed the three traveled to Esparto. A witness told investigators they saw Rios being picked up by a car matching the description of the car owned by Shannon.
David, Shannon and Campos turned off their phones soon after and the following day, David and Shannon told Jonathan that Rios had been taken to a secluded area near Knights Landing. Rios refused to provide a location or a call to his friend Moore. After refusing to provide his location, prosecutors say David shot and killed Rios.
Weeks later, on Nov. 4, Campos, David and Jonathan waited in a car as Moore was leaving a barber shop near Main Street in Woodland. The three forced Moore into their car and then picked up Shannon, who had the gun that was used to kill Rios.
The defendants drove Moore to Knights Landing where they forced him out of the car at gunpoint. Moore was forced to the ground where the defendants zip-tied his hands and marched him to a more secluded area.
David and Campos left the group to get shovels, a pickaxe, gasoline and bleach. During that time, Jonathan and Shannon took turns holding the gun denying Moore's pleas to be let go or to call his mother.
When Davis and Campos returned with the tools an hour later, prosecutors say David began violently striking Moore in the head with a baseball bat-sized branch. The four took turns striking Moore in the head before David selected a large log and dropped it onto Moore's head.
The four defendants then dug a hole and buried Moore's body and lit it on fire, eventually extinguishing it with bleach and dirt. The defendants then burned their own clothes and dumped their tools in the river at a drawbridge in Knights Landing.
Officials say a missing person report was made for the two teens launching a massive investigation and search. Jonathan cooperated with the Yolo County District Attorney's Office in the investigation and attempted to find the location of two teens' bodies.
All four suspects were arrested in June of 2018.
Jonathan plead guilty to second-degree murder and will be sentenced to 15-years-to-life in prison, the Yolo County District Attorney's Office says. His brother, David, was convicted of the murder in 2018 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Shannon was convicted Wednesday on two counts of first-degree murder for the killings of Rios and Moore, and also of kidnapping, and special circumstances of multiple murders and kidnapping during the course of a murder.
Campos was convicted of second-degree murder for the killing of Rios, first-degree murder for the killing of Moore, kidnapping, and special circumstances of multiple murders and kidnapping during the course of a murder
The two will face sentences of up to life without the possibility of parole, the Yolo County District Attorney's Office says.
Despite years of search efforts, the body of Rios was never recovered for his family to lay him to rest. Elijah Moore's body also hasn't been found.
"It will help to actually be able to bury him somewhere that family can visit him, but I don’t think I’ll ever get closure," Rios Gutierrez said.
"I mean we grew up together. I was 16 when I had him. And when I think about it, at 16 he was taken from me, so I don’t know," she added.
While she says the closure might never come, the convictions are a step toward justice.
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