A Denver federal jury has found four Florence, Colorado prison inmates guilty of beating Pablo Zuniga-Garcia, 33, a fellow inmate, to death because Zuniga-Garcia had allegedly challenged the authority of Justin Hernandez over control of the Surenos, a notorious Mexican-American gang, in the prison, according to a prosecutor on the case.
Prosecutors said that the four inmate assailants used their fists, feet and padlocks attached to belts to beat Zuniga-Garcia to death in his cell, according to The Denver Post. The attackers, Jose Augustin Pluma, Juan Martin Ruelas, Mark Rosalez and Justin Hernandez are being indicted with second-degree murder, conspiracy and possession of contraband in prison.
The four convicted inmates, as well as Zuniga-Garcia, were said to be members of the Surenos. Some witnesses to the beating said that it was gang related and due to a rivalry between Hernandez, who has been called a Surenos leader, and the victim, Zuniga-Garcia. reports The Denver Post also reports that Zuniga-Garcia was possibly considered a snitch by the gang members and was killed because of that.
The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that Zuniga-Garzia was serving a 54-month sentence in the Federal Correctional Complex in Florence, Colorado that he began in 2007 and was projected to be released in 2010. Zuniga-Garzia was serving time for an illegal-immigration conviction he received in Southern California.
The four inmates will be sentenced Aug. 25 in U.S. District Court in Denver, according to 7News.
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