Man in killings of Utah siblings may face death penalty
Salt Lake City — A man suspected of killing a teenage brother and sister in Utah shot them multiple times during a group fight and warned others as he drove away that “they would be next” if they said anything, according to a new charging documents that reveal more about a confrontation that started over a T-shirt and turned deadly.
Prosecutors have charged Mario Cervantez-Angel, 28, with two counts of aggravated murder, which carries the possibility of the death penalty.
Cervantez-Angel, who is being held in jail on $2 million bail, is from Mexico and living in the United States illegally, authorities said. He doesn’t have an attorney yet.
Witnesses says the fight broke out on July 6 in a Salt Lake City suburban apartment complex when Cervantez-Angel and three others showed up to confront Jose Izazaga, 16, and Abril Izazaga, 15.
At one point, Cervantez-Angel grabbed Abril Izazaga’s hair and slammed her against a brick wall, the document shows. When Jose Izazaga pulled out a knife to defend his sister, Cervantez-Angel grabbed a handgun from his waistband and shot the siblings multiple times.
Abril Izazaga was hugging her brother as they were shot, witnesses said.
After the brother and sister fell to the ground, witnesses say Cervantez-Angel pointed the gun against Jose Izazaga’s head and pulled the trigger, but the gun was jammed and didn’t fire.
He got in a car with the three others — his girlfriend and her two children — and drove away. That’s when he warned the others that “they would be next” if they said anything.
Abril Izazaga was pronounced dead at the scene. Jose Izazaga died at a hospital.
Members of the Izazaga family say the two slain siblings shared a tight bond. They were the youngest of nine siblings and both had birthdays in July.
The siblings’ older brother, Kenny Lopez, 22, said the boy who started the confrontation was a longtime friend of Jose Izazaga and spent a lot of time at the house. He turned himself in after the shooting and appears to be clear of any charges.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill wouldn’t discuss that person, but he said he’s comfortable his office has charged the person who needed be charged.
Gill declined to discuss whether Cervantez-Angel was a stepfather figure to the slain teens.
Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder said earlier this month that there were underlying tensions between the suspect and the victims and that investigators were trying to determine if Cervantez-Angel had been romantically involved with the teens’ mother at some point.