Teen guilty in visitors' murder
Costa Rican gets 14 years
BY GLENN GARVIN AND CATALINA CALDERON
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- A Costa Rican teenager was convicted Wednesday
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
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
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
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