PORT HURON (AP/WWJ) – A paroled ex-convict accused of rape, torture and murder in the deaths of a Michigan couple has been convicted of all charges.
The Times Herald of Port Huron reports that — after deliberating for just over an hour — jurors on Wednesday found 32-year-old Manuel Gamez guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of torture and one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
The Port Huron man’s trial lasted about two weeks. Officers found the bodies of 29-year-old Daniel McRoberts and 26-year-old Melissa Ichenberg on July 30, 2013, at Gratiot Village apartments in the 1400 block of Riverview Street near 10th Avenue, just north of the Blue Water Bridge toll road.
According to Daniel Spitz, the county medical examiner, autopsies showed McRoberts was stabbed and Ichenberg was strangled.
Family members spoke with reporters at the courthouse following the reading of the verdict in St. Clair County Circuit.
“The system did work on our behalf,” Doug McRoberts,Daniel McRoberts’ father, said. “My son was a hero…He was not just my son; he was my partner, he was my friend.”
A Port Huron police officer testified that, after changing his story several times, Gamez admitted to the killings during an interview following his arrest on Aug. 1 of last year; but defense lawyer Edward Marshall argued there was little physical evidence to link Gamez to the crime.
The trial lasted 10 days, with 35 witnesses taking the stand.
Sentencing is scheduled Sept. 17. Gamez faces a mandatory term of life in prison without parole.
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