Rosemead Man Convicted of Double Murder

Times Staff Writer

A 45-year-old Rosemead man has been convicted on two counts of first-degree murder in the execution-style slayings of a Baldwin Park couple.

After two and a half days of deliberation, a Pomona Superior Court jury found Francisco Gonzalez Carlos guilty of the brutal killings of Able Castaneda, 32, and his wife, Mireya, 29.

Lorenzo Carlos, the defendant's brother, who also had been charged with the killings, pleaded guilty earlier in the trial in exchange for dropping the special circumstances charges against him, which could have resulted in the death penalty. He will be sentenced on Feb. 20, and faces a maximum penalty of 30 years to life in prison.

Francisco Carlos, who will be sentenced Jan. 14, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole. The district attorney's office did not press for the death penalty that could be assessed in special circumstances charges.

The killings were committed March 24, 1983, in a Baldwin Park furniture factory owned by the victims. Deputy Dist. Atty. David Milton said the Castanedas were strangled, stabbed and beaten with table legs before being shot to death over what apparently was a business dispute involving Able Castaneda and his wife's brother, Romero Romero.

"Able Castaneda was in partnership with Romero," Milton said. "There was a dispute and Able terminated the partnership."

Romero and his 14-year-old wife, who is the daughter of Francisco Carlos, had been living with Francisco Carlos at the time of the killings, Milton said.

During the monthlong trial, Francisco Carlos admitted killing the couple but denied it was premeditated, saying he acted during "a heat of passion and rage" after allegedly learning his 14-year-old daughter had sex with Castaneda.

"Francisco and Lorenzo Carlos both went over there with .38-caliber revolvers," Milton said, "and basically executed them."

Children Saw Attack

Francisco Carlos' conviction was largely based on the testimony of the Castanedas' 11-year-old daughter, Jacqueline, who told the court that she and her 8-year-old brother saw most of the attack while hiding under a table in the factory.

"The children saw most of it," Milton said. "Near the end they ran out and later heard gunshots."

The Castaneda children are now living with their uncle. Francisco Carlos' attorney, Henry Bastian, was not available for comment.

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