Two Fresno families united in tragedy as double killer is punished

Thursday, December 15, 2022
Two Fresno families united in tragedy as double killer is punished
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A Fresno man got a helping of hatred with a touch of forgiveness as he learned his punishment for killing two men in 2020 and 2021.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno man got a helping of hatred with a touch of forgiveness as he learned his punishment for killing two men in 2020 and 2021.

The two families united in prayer outside the Fresno County courthouse Wednesday morning were strangers until Abel Tello brought them together in tragedy.

Tello killed Anthony Romero first, shooting him at an apartment complex near Fresno State in June 2020.

"He had a goofy laugh and a smile you could never forget," said Brandy Cabrera. "You took a person away that would give you his last if you needed it. You took away a piece of my heart that can't heal or fix."

Police released video of a suspect walking in the neighborhood and identified Tello through tips, but they didn't catch him until September 2021, after he shot and killed Michael Hartley, Sr.

"I am grateful that if it wasn't for my dad, this murderer wouldn't have been caught because he's been on the run for however long now," said Michael Hartley, Jr.

The victim's son made his animosity for the killer very clear and Romero's mother delivered a similar message.

"May you never rest in peace," said Susie Romero. "You are a monster and a murderer."

Tello admitted to murdering Hartley and manslaughter in Romero's death.

He said very little and kept his head down as the people left behind told him about the emotional damage he's inflicted and the conflict he's created in their hearts.

"As much as I want to hate you, I have to forgive you because my God says so," said Joe Anthony Romero, nephew to Anthony Romero.

Tello is 47 years old and he'll now serve a prison sentence of 36 years to life.