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Otay Mesa

The mother and sisters of an Otay Mesa man convicted of two brutal murders asked a jury Tuesday to spare his life.

The relatives of Richard Samoyoa, 35, testified in the penalty phase of his trial, in which jurors have only two choices: recommend a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.

Closing arguments were to be presented today. Samoyoa was convicted two weeks ago of first-degree murder in the Dec. 18, 1985, slayings of Nelia Silva, 33, and her 2-year-old daughter, Katherine. Both were bludgeoned with a wrench, and the home was burglarized. They lived across the street from the defendant.

Samoyoa’s mother and sisters said they will feel responsible if he is sentenced to death because it was they who turned over stolen jewelry from the Silva house to police, which led to Samoyoa’s arrest in February, 1986.

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