The case of a Umatilla man charged in the August 2014 deaths of three Pasco residents should go to the jury today.
Prosecutors and the defense both rested Wednesday in the Benton County Superior Court trial of Francisco J. Resendez Miranda.
The 24-year-old did not testify.
Resendez Miranda is accused of killing David Perez-Saucedo, Abigail Torres-Renteria and Victoria Torres after a break-in at his apartment.
The three were found in a Benton County cornfield owned by Easterday Farms. Perez-Saucedo, 22, and Torres-Renteria, 23, were shot to death, while Torres, 19, was shot once and then strangled with a belt after she tried to run from her attackers.
Resendez Miranda is charged with three counts of aggravated first-degree murder.
Prosecutors have included aggravating circumstances that Torres-Renteria was almost nine months pregnant and that the crime involved several victims.
In Washington, a murder charge cannot be filed for an unborn baby.
Resendez Miranda would spend the rest of his life behind bars if convicted of just one aggravated murder count.
Archie Marquez told jurors earlier this week that he gave a .38-caliber revolver to Resendez Miranda when his former co-worker’s home was burglarized, hours before the fatal shootings.
Resendez Miranda then returned the revolver with blood on it later that night, Marquez said.
Worried that he may be linked to the killings, Marquez said he threw the gun off a bridge into the Columbia River. The revolver has not been found.
On Wednesday, Benton County sheriff’s Detective Lee Cantu testified that no shell casings were found at the crime scene in the cornfield. He explained that isn’t surprising because if a revolver was used, the casings would have remained in the cylinder unless manually ejected.
Cantu also talked about how investigators did not recover any bullets, other than the two that were removed from Perez-Saucedo during his autopsy.
“They either struck the victims, like we know they did, or penetrated themselves in the ground, or were just fired in a direction that they could not be located,” he said.
Asked by Prosecutor Andy Miller how long a bullet can go, Cantu said, “Quite a distance.”
Though Resendez Miranda is the only person charged in the crime, law enforcement and prosecutors have said it is clear he didn’t kill the trio by himself.
Investigators have been looking for his father and two brothers for questioning.
Fidel Miranda-Huitron, 51, Eduardo Miranda-Resendiz, 24, and Fernando de Jesus Miranda-Resendiz, 19, are believed to have left the country for Mexico shortly after the slayings.
Resendez Miranda’s trial started Nov. 2, though court was not in session for a couple of days.