State v. Alberto Avila-Cardenas
Defendant Convicted in Fatal Shootings of Three Men in 2010: A 40-year-old Lakewood man was convicted yesterday on three counts of Murder in the First Degree with firearm enhancements for the murders of three men whose bodies were found in March 2011 at a plant nursery near Kent. The victims were last seen leaving their jobs at a Lake Union wholesale florist on December 12, 2010. The jury convicted the defendant Alberto Avila-Cardenas in the fatal shootings of Jesus Bejar-Avila, 25, Yazmani Quezada-Ortiz, 26, and Cristian Alberto Rangel, 19.
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said the case was solved as a result of the hard work and persistence by detectives with the Lakewood Police Department and the King County Sheriff's Office. "The Lakewood Police Department put extraordinary effort into this case when it was just a missing persons report, and the Sheriff's Office was able to use that work to swiftly build a case against the defendant once the victims' bodies were found,” Satterberg said. “I also want to thank the prosecution team for all their hard work in bringing this case to trial,” he added.
Avila-Cardenas faces a sentence range 75 to 95 years in prison, which includes the firearm enhancements. A sentencing date has not yet been set. A co-defendant in the case, Jose Alfredo Velez-Fombona, 29, pled guilty last month to a charge of Murder in the Second Degree and faces a sentence range of 10 to 18 years in prison. He’s currently scheduled for sentencing on August 28 before Judge Bruce Heller at the Maleng Regional Justice Center.
The case was investigated by Detective Christopher Johnson of the King County Sheriff’s Office. The prosecution team included Senior Deputy Prosecutors Mary Barbosa and Kristin Richardson, and paralegal Sue Trujillo and victim advocate Karen Kunde.