Crime

Jurors convict teen in slaying of couple at Miami Gardens gas station

 
 
Eric Ellington, who was 16 at the time of the murders, faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced at a future date. He was the first of three young defendants to head to trial. Two others, Wayne Williams, 19, and Dylan McFarlane, 20, are awaiting their day in court.
Eric Ellington, who was 16 at the time of the murders, faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced at a future date. He was the first of three young defendants to head to trial. Two others, Wayne Williams, 19, and Dylan McFarlane, 20, are awaiting their day in court.
WALTER MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

A Miami Gardens teenager is guilty of the murder of a couple during a carjacking at a Mobil gas station nearly three years ago, jurors decided late Friday.

After four hours of deliberations, jurors convicted Eric Ellington, 18, of the slayings of Julian Soler and Kennia Duran in July 2011.

The jury found him guilty of several felonies.

Ellington, who was 16 at the time of the murders, faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced at a future date. He was the first of three young defendants to head to trial. Two others, Wayne Williams, 19, and Dylan McFarlane, 20, are awaiting their day in court.

“We’re very happy with the verdict. We believe the jury did the right thing in delivering justice for the two innocent people who were murdered,” said Miami-Dade prosecutor Michael Von Zamft. “Now we will go forward on the trials of the two other people accused.”

Prosecutors say Ellington pulled Soler, 23, from the driver’s side of his Ford Mustang, then shot him eight times “because he didn’t look scared enough.”

Finger and palm prints on the Mustang door matched Ellington, who gave a detailed audio-and-video-recorded confession played to jurors during the trial. His mother also identified him on gas station surveillance video that depicted the shooting in agonizing detail.

Another gunman shot and killed Duran as she stood outside of the passenger side of the car.

Prosecutors say Ellington was one of four robbers who had pulled up to the gas station in a green Nissan Pathfinder, later found torched.

Hours earlier, the group carjacked a Cadillac Escalade from a husband and wife at a Miami Gardens Bank of America. The couple was unhurt. The group ditched the Escalade after its Onstar system disabled it.

Ellington was aquitted in that carjacking, but found guilty of trespassing in the vehicle.

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