Feds to seek death penalty in Virginia gang killings

Feds to seek death penalty in Virginia gang killings

ALEXANDRIA, Va, (AP) - Federal prosecutors will pursue a death sentence against a northern Virginia gang leader accused of killing two teenagers.

The U.S. attorney in Alexandria filed papers Monday indicating their intent to seek the death penalty against 29-year-old Elmer Zelaya Martinez.

Prosecutors say Zelaya Martinez was a leader in the MS-13 street gang who helped coordinate the 2016 stabbing deaths of 17-year-old Edvin Escobar Mendez and 14-year-old Sergio Arita Triminio.

Zelaya Martinez’s lawyer criticized the decision to pursue the death penalty as politically motivated.

Zelaya Martinez is one of 11 people charged in the slayings.

The other 10 will not face the death penalty.

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