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Man found guilty in Facebook ‘catfishing’ murder

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. >> A Riverside County jury has found a San Jacinto man guilty of murdering a man after luring him to a park with a fake Facebook profile featuring pictures of a female model.

District attorney’s spokesman John Hall says Manuel Guzman was convicted Wednesday of the murder he committed when he was 17, making him ineligible for the death penalty.

The jury deliberated for less than a day before returning their verdict.

Guzman’s fake profile lured 23-year-old Eddie Leal to a park, where he believed he was meeting a woman named Rebecca Santhiago he had spoken to via Facebook. 

Leal was later found dead in a car with multiple gunshot wounds.

Guzman is due for sentencing April 26. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison with no parole.

The practice of luring someone using a fake online profile is called “catfishing” after a documentary and MTV series about online relationships.

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