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2 charged in Los Angeles Craigslist killing

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 11:02 p.m. HST, Oct 28, 2013

LOS ANGELES » Two reputed gang members were charged today with robbing and killing a man who police say was lured to his death with a Craigslist ad and gunned down in front of his 15-year-old son.

Ryan Roth, 17, and Markell Thomas, 18, were charged with murder, attempted murder and robbery in the Oct. 19 death of Rene Balbuena and the wounding of his son.

Roth, the alleged shooter, was charged as an adult. Both were arrested last week and remained jailed.

Both are reputed members of an Inglewood gang, police said.

At a news conference, family members said they were grateful to investigators for finding Balbuena's alleged killers.

"My dad is my best friend. He was everything to me and nothing's going to bring him back," Sandra Balbuena, 19, said in a shaking voice.

Thanks to the arrests, the alleged killer "isn't gonna go do more damage to no one," said Ana Guerrero, the victim's sister.

Balbuena, 41, answered a Craigslist ad for a $300 Samsung Galaxy and drove with his son to South Los Angeles the night of Oct. 19 to buy it, authorities said.

Balbuena texted the supposed sellers to let them know he was there and minutes later two men came up to the car from behind. Thomas allegedly jumped into the back seat and pointed a gun at Balbuena's son and both robbers demanded money, Detective Chris Barling said.

Balbuena got out of the car and Roth shot him several times, Barling contended.

Balbuena was declared dead at a hospital. His son was grazed.

The robbers ran off without taking any money, Barling said.

Barling declined to say specifically what led investigators to Roth and Thomas, but he said detectives learned that seven similar holdups -- all involving Craigslist ads for cellphones -- had occurred in the Baldwin Hills area from Aug. 2 to Oct. 7.

No one was injured in those robberies, he said.

Thomas is suspected of taking part in those holdups, sometimes with other people, and prosecutors could add additional robbery charges, Barling said.

Thomas was arrested Thursday and Roth was arrested the next day. A gun was found in Roth's backpack, but it wasn't the murder weapon, which has not been found, Barling said.

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mokebla wrote:
Its the way of life for these hoods, save the taxpayers money. Out of sight, out of mind!
on October 29,2013 | 05:38AM
krusha wrote:
People always say that until it actually affects them. If they don't do anything, then the vicious cycle continues forever and gets worse and worse until it affects everyone.
on October 29,2013 | 06:50AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
on October 29,2013 | 10:14AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
With so many robberies linked to Craigslist ads, there should be a system put in place where all accounts should be linked to real identification and verification. The same verification used by Amazon and other web commerce should be used to ensure that all those who have an account are indeed who they claim to be. If they are to be doing any kind of commerce on the website, all people with an account should be required to have some kind of verifiable bank account in which a real identification can be traced. We must make it more difficult for criminals to use the website for their nefarious deeds.
on October 29,2013 | 10:13AM
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