- The Washington Times - Friday, September 2, 2005

With Tuesday’s announcement of a mistrial in the case of two Mexicans accused of slaughtering three young relatives in Baltimore, this much seems clear: It is doubtful that anyone will ever be found criminally responsible for the May 27, 2004, butchering of three children.

One of the few areas on which the prosecution and defense agreed was that the murderers (like the young victims) were illegal aliens who were related to the children. They disagreed over the identity of the killers, and it remains an open question to this day, with defense attorneys suggesting that another family member was culpable. From the beginning, the investigation was hampered by the shameful refusal of the immediate family of the victims and the accused (all of them illegal aliens) to cooperate with investigators.

A retrial of the defendants — Adan Canela, 17, and Policarpio Espinoza, 22— has been scheduled for March 1. But absent the magical appearance of some new piece of incriminating evidence against the defendants, we ask: to what end? What makes prosecutors think that the result will be any different the next time?

Today, more than 15 months after the crime, and following five weeks of testimony, we still do not know who murdered 10-year-old Alexis Espejo Quezada Jr. and his 9-year-old cousins Lucero Solis Quezada and Ricardo Solis Quezada Jr. Jurors said they deadlocked 6-6 on Mr. Canela and 8-4 in favor of convicting Mr. Espinoza.

One problem, noted by a juror who spoke to reporters after the verdict, was prosecutors’ failure to offer a motive for the slayings. Shortly after the crime occurred, police suggested that the children were killed because their parents had failed to pay off the “coyotes” who had smuggled family members into the United States. But before the trial began in July, prosecutors said they would offer no motive, and would instead attempt to win convictions based on DNA and other physical evidence.

After the trial ended, the parents and other relatives of the murdered children joined defense attorneys at a Baltimore law office and declared themselves to be “happy” about the mistrial. But no decent person could be happy about what has occurred here: Three children have been brutally murdered, and no one has been held responsible.

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