Inland Empire News
Suspect accused of using Facebook to set up 'thrill kill'
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- A man accused of luring a "thrill kill" murder victim through Facebook appeared in court Tuesday. Both sides presented opening statements Tuesday.
Investigators say Manuel Guzman, now 19, created a false Facebook identity using photos of a stranger, an attractive woman from the East Coast who doesn't know any of the parties involved.
Guzman worked to develop an online relationship with and to lure 23-year-old Eddy Leal to a park to meet who he thought was going to be the woman.
Investigators say Guzman then shot Leal multiple times with a semiautomatic handgun.
Tuesday the prosecutor showed the jury evidence including data from Guzman's computer that revealed he had allegedly tried to arrange meetings at the same park with three other men using the same Facebook page the same day of the murder; records of the actual online chat between the suspect and the victim arranging the meeting just 20 minutes before the murder; and messages Guzman allegedly sent to his friends using that same account and identifying himself, saying he was using it as a tool against his enemies.
The prosecutor also referenced the Facebook password "mak187" -- "187" is the law enforcement code for murder -- and the fact that Guzman got a tattoo of a smoking gun just days after the murder.
The defense then argued there was no blood or fingerprints linking Guzman to the crime, nor was a gun ever found, and that all evidence against him was purely circumstantial.
"I would encourage people not to rush to judgment, listen to the cross-examination, especially the forensic experts and the computer experts, but it's all circumstantial. Nobody's going to link him to the crime, there's no blood, there's no DNA, there's no fingerprints, there's no gunshot residue," said defense attorney Kia Feyzjou.
Guzman faces life in prison without parole if convicted. He was 17 at the time of the murder, making him ineligible for the death penalty.
(Photo credit: The Press-Enterprise).
court case, homicide investigation, murder, technology, inland empire news, rudabeh shahbazi
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