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Teens indicted in killings of homeless

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POSTED August 5, 2014 6:22 p.m.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Three teenagers were indicted Tuesday for the brutal slayings of two homeless men in Albuquerque.

A Bernalillo County grand jury returned indictments against all three suspects that included first-degree murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault and battery and numerous other counts. Arraignments for the three teens have yet to be scheduled.

District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said the 15- and 16-year-old suspects will be tried alongside 18-year-old Alex Rios in adult court because they were charged as serious youthful offenders and indicted on the first-degree murder charges. The Associated Press is not identifying the minors because of their age.

Rios and the two younger suspects are charged with attacking three homeless men as they slept July 19 in a vacant lot that was a regular camping ground for transients in southwest Albuquerque.

Cinderblocks were among the things the 15-year-old said the trio used to beat the men for over an hour, police said. According to a criminal complaint, he told police they lifted them over their heads and took turns dropping them on the men’s faces.

Sticks, a metal pole and other objects were also used to beat the men, police said.

Allison Gorman and Kee Thompson were killed. The third man, Jerome Eskeets, was able to get away and was later hospitalized for his injuries.

Gorman and Thompson were Native American. Police said there was no indication the teens sought out the victims based on race, so hate-crime charges were not presented to the grand jury.

On the night of the attack, the 15-year-old said he was angry about breaking up with his girlfriend, and the three returned from a party and covered their faces with black T-shirts and went out to look for someone to beat up and possibly rob, according to the criminal complaint.

Prosecutors said the teens heard voices coming from a vacant lot near their home and decided they would attack the men at that lot. Police later searched the home and found evidence they say was related to the beatings.

After being arrested and interviewed separately, the teens allegedly admitted to the beatings, prosecutors said.

Rios was being held on a $1 million bond at the Metropolitan Detention Center. The two younger teens were being held at a juvenile detention center, each on a $1 million bond.

If convicted of the charges, all three defendants could face up to life in prison.

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