Two men found guilty of first degree murder in a Sunnyside home

Gonzales and Escalon now face 25 years to life in prison. They could be sentenced as early as next month.
Gonzales and Escalon now face 25 years to life in prison. They could be sentenced as early as next month.
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Jurors have reached a verdict in the case of two men accused of killing a convicted felon and burning his body in his SUV near Del Ray.

Richard Escalon, 36, and Marcos Gonzales, 37, were found guilty of first degree murder in the death of Christopher Zuniga.

Investigators say Escalon and Gonzales were taking money from the bank account of the woman who owned a Sunnyside home, after she was hospitalized and moved away. They say Escalon gave Zuniga the account's pin, but the bank had frozen the account and Zuniga couldn't get money out. When he returned to the home, detectives say Gonzales hit him in the head with a baseball bat and Escalon stabbed him in the heart. His charred remains were later found inside his burned up car.

District Attorney Sam Dalesandro said, "It was a quick verdict, but I have no doubt this jury did an excellent job in evaluating the evidence, and coming back with the proper verdict."

Escalon's attorney Gerald Schwab said, "It was a tough case because there was such ugly aftermath, with the burned up body and everything, that it was difficulty to get them to concentrate on what happened down in that basement on that day."

Gonzales and Escalon now face 25 years to life in prison. They could be sentenced as early as next month.

Watch the video for extended coverage from Action News reporter Linda Mumma.



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