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September 9, 2011

Third trial on tap for men charged in '04 killing of 3 children

A date has been set for the third trial of two men, illegal immigrants from Mexico, charged with murder in the deaths of three young relatives in a Baltimore apartment in 2004.

Policarpio Espinoza Perez, 29, and Adan Espinoza Canela, 24, also again pleaded not guilty Thursday. They have been held in custody since their arrests seven years ago, and are now scheduled to be tried again Nov. 10 in Baltimore Circuit Court.

The first trial ended in a hung jury, and the second resulted in convictions that were later overturned because of a judge's error.

"I take it, since this is the third arraignment, that the defendant's have been advised of the elements of the offenses?" Judge Stuart R. Berger asked the attorneys Thursday, who agreed that was the case.

The men are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder and conspiracy in connection with the deaths of three elementary school-age children: siblings Ricardo and Lucero Espinoza, ages 9 and 8, respectively, and their cousin, Alexis Espejo Quozada, 10.

The children were beaten and had their throats cut so deeply they were nearly decapitated in their Fallstaff home on May 27, 2004. Perez, their uncle, and Canela, their cousin, were arrested and charged with the killings a day later.
Posted by Justin Fenton at 10:40 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Courts and the justice system

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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