The Miami Herald
July 27, 2000

Teen guilty in visitors' murder

Costa Rican gets 14 years


 SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- A Costa Rican teenager was convicted Wednesday of
 the murder of two American college students and sentenced to 14 1/2 years in

 Juvenile court Judge Allan Chavez convicted the 16-year-old defendant after a
 three-week trial that was closed to the press and public. The sentence was just
 short of the 15-year maximum for an underage offender.

 He was convicted of the murders on March 13 of a pair of 19-year-old Americans,
 Emily Eagen of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Emily Howell of Lexington, Ky. The youth
 also was convicted of aggravated robbery and damaging property -- the latter for
 wrecking a rental vehicle stolen from the women.

 The two young women were abducted shortly after leaving a bar in the south
 Caribbean resort town of Puerto Viejo, then shot to death on a deserted roadside.

 A second defendant, 19-year-old Alberto Urbina, is scheduled for trial for the
 murders later this month. Police still seek a third suspect, a 16-year-old

 The teenager convicted Wednesday will serve his sentence in a juvenile facility
 until his 18th birthday, then finish it in a regular prison. Urbina, the adult
 defendant, faces a 25-year sentence if convicted.

 The trial was held in Limón on Costa Rica's Atlantic coast, 90 miles north of
 Puerto Viejo, where Howell and Eagen -- classmates at Antioch College in Ohio --
 had been living since early February. Howell was working on a school project.

 Though the bodies of both women were missing clothing, police said there was no
 evidence of rape. The women were killed for their rented sport utility vehicle, police

 After leaving the women's bodies in the jungle underbrush at the side of the road,
 the killers drove the vehicle northeast toward San Jose before accidentally flipping
 it over. Two tow truck operators summoned to the scene of the accident testified
 that they were ordered at gunpoint to burn the vehicle after they spotted blood