MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – A jury has found 65-year-old Victor Santana guilty of murder after the shooting deaths of two teens.
This is a breaking news update. The previous story is below:
Thursday marks day three of the trial for 65-year-old Victor Santana, the man accused of killing two teens in his garage in 2019. On day two of the trial, witnesses including the lead investigator on the case and another teen present at the scene of the shooting took the stand. Follow this story for updates regarding the case throughout the day.
Santana’s niece tool the stand, testifying on behalf of her uncle. She said she has known him to be a family man for the 30 years she’s lived in Montgomery County, adding that she has “never” seen him interact with her own children in a way that is inappropriate or concerning.
Santana’s sister took the stand, testifying that she saw her brother about once a month since moving to Ohio. She described him as a “kind” and “loving” man. She also said he was “very peaceful” and known to be somewhat of a loner.
After the testimony of Santana’s sister, the defense said they have no more evidence to present in court, and has moved to rest their case.
The prosecution started their closing arguments. Attorney Kimberly Melnick addressed the jury, focusing on the fact that the defendant can not reasonably claim self defense, as according to the courts, he did not use reasonable force, he did not retreat, and was thought to have provoked violence on the teens, among others. She explained that while the teens may have trespassed, “They did not escalate this into a use of force situation.”
The defense began closing arguments, stating that Santana pulled the trigger out of fear of what could happen when he noticed trespassers on his property in the dark of night. Defense attorney Lucas Wilder quoted a portion of one Santana’s interviews following the shooting, where he told police, “I didn’t know if they had guns or if they were going to attack me.”
Prosecution and defense conclude closing arguments. Judge Timothy O’Connell begins reading jury instructions.
Following the judge’s reading of jury instructions, the jury has been dismissed to go into deliberations.
Jury finds Santana guilty on four counts of murder and four counts of felonious assault. Santana was not found guilty on count 9, felonious assault concerning the surviving teen Ja’shin Gibson.