A man is guilty of murdering two young friends during a botched carjacking at a Miami Gardens gas station, jurors decided Wednesday.
After more than 13 hours of deliberations stretched over three days, the jury decided that Dylan McFarlane was to blame for the killings of Julian Soler and Kennia Duran – a horrific slaying captured on video surveillance.
The jury acquitted McFarlane, 21, of a separate carjacking that happened just before the gas-station shooting.
McFarlane will be sentenced sometime in the coming months. Because he was 18 years old at the time of the crimes, he faces mandatory life prison terms for the two murder counts.
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In July 2011, prosecutors said, McFarlane was part of a band of robbers who went on a crime spree that culminated in the attack on Duran and Soler as they pulled his 1997 Mustang Cobra into the Mobil station.
Jurors heard that McFarlane gunned down Duran as she stood outside the passenger side of the car. Another gunman, Eric Ellington, then 16, shot and killed Soler as he held his hands up in surrender.
At the time of her death, Duran was a 24-year-old mother of a young daughter.
“We hope this gives some closure to the families of these young, innocent victims,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement.
Miami-Dade prosecutors in a separate trial last year convicted Ellington, who is now serving a life sentence. A third man, Wayne Williams, pleaded guilty and is serving a 17-year prison term.
With no confession, DNA, fingerprints or eyewitnesses, authorities had but a circumstantial case against McFarlane.
During two weeks of testimony, jurors viewed detailed cell phone evidence showing that McFarlane called the co-defendants before the shooting – and his phone was used just minutes before the killing less than a mile away.
Prosecutors also say McFarlane also confessed that he was one of the shooters to a jailhouse informant. Defense attorney Ed O’Donnell blasted the informant as unbelievable.
After the verdict, McFarlane was disappointed, O’Donnell said.
“He plans to appeal,” O’Donnell said.