Jury finds man guilty of murdering Surrey roommate
A man who shot his roommate to death in Surrey nearly two years ago was found guilty by a 12-member jury Wednesday night.
Lester Olivia Buezo Oseguera, 30, was facing three weapons offences as well as a second-degree murder charge for killing 28-year-old José Hector Luna Morales (José Luna) in the summer of 2010. He was found guilty on all counts.
During the lengthy trial, which began April 16, the jury heard that Oseguera, high on cocaine, first fired toward a roommate's friend before turning the gun on Luna inside the house they shared with several men near 112 Avenue and 138 Street.
Roommate Doug Nash testified he saw Oseguera shoot Luna after a brief argument in Spanish – testimony defence lawyers argued should be disregarded as Nash had more than 20 beers that day and had cocaine in his bedroom.
Police officers told the court Oseguera also fired at them before fleeing the scene on Aug. 30, 2010 and subsequently being tracked down by a police dog.
Oseguera testified he shot Luna by accident. His defence lawyers, David and Jason Tarnow, argued the murder charge should have been downgraded to manslaughter.
Jason Tarnow said the guilty verdict was disappointing.
"We felt that there was overwhelming evidence that Oseguera was on a month-long crack cocaine binge that led to the shooting," he said, "and thus he was too intoxicated on crack to form the intent necessary for murder."
Luna, originally from El Salvador, had only lived in Surrey for a year-and-a-half before he was killed. He had come to Canada in 2008 on a work visa and had a job as a painter. Other men in the house were also painters, said his family, including Oseguera, who was from Honduras.
Luna's mother and sister travelled from El Salvador to attend the trial. Family described the victim as a kind and responsible young man who was very family oriented and likable.
Sister Jacqeline Luna said she was grateful for the work of the police and prosecutors and that she and her mother are satisfied with the outcome. She added she does not have any resentment for Oseguera and hopes he finds peace.
"The pain we feel in our hearts will never heal because we love my brother very much," Jacqueline said in an email. "We...try to heal wounds and go on with our lives as best as possible, in memory of my brother."
Sgt. Jennifer Pound, spokesperson for the IHIT (Integrated Homicide Investigation Team), it's the family members left behind that motivates investigators.
"If we can do our job and a guilty person is convicted, we hope that provides some small measure of peace to the family,” said Pound.
The jury began deliberations on Tuesday (May 8) and delivered its verdict late Wednesday (May 9).
Second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence. Parole eligibility will be determined at sentencing, a date for which will be set next Thursday (May 17).