RALEIGH — Juries in Wake County returned two first-degree murder convictions this week – in a domestic violence case and in a case where a man was shot while trying to stop people from breaking into cars outside his home.
Jorge Luis Juarez, 22, was found guilty Friday of murdering Alfonso Canjay Rincon, a 42-year-old Raleigh man who was shot outside his Foxhall Village Drive home in the early morning of Oct. 31, 2012.
Rincon, who worked two jobs to support his wife and four children, stepped outside his home that Halloween to investigate unusual noises.
Investigators say Rincon got in his car and chased men he suspected of breaking into cars in the neighborhood, then rammed his car into a car that Juarez was driving. Prosecutors contend that Juarez and three others had been stealing stereos from the cars.
But this week, during a trial in Wake County Superior Court, Juarez testified in his defense, saying he had not been stealing stereos.
Juarez said he fired the gun at Rincon in self-defense. He said he did not know until he was being arrested later in Louisiana that Rincon had died.
Wake County Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cruden argued that Juarez had no justification for doing what he did and contended that it was murder.
Three others have been accused in the Rincon homicide – Marcos Gabriel Chapparo, Erick Pardo Martinez and Karen Alexis Gonzalez – and are awaiting trial.
They testified that they did not know why Juarez fired the gun.
Murder of girlfriend
In a different case, a Wake County jury needed little more than an hour of deliberations before convicting Wedjunald Gemeille, 22, of first-degree murder.
Gemeille was arrested Jan. 20, 2013, in the stabbing death of Angel D. Irby, his 29-year-old girlfriend.
Irby’s body was found at her apartment near Millbrook Road after emergency dispatchers received a 911 call from a man asking police to check on the well-being of a person living at 201-20 Loft Lane.
That call came from a man who said he was at church, according to a recording.
The caller told dispatchers: “I have a young man with me. I’m at church right now. He came into our church, and he indicated that he assaulted his girlfriend at this apartment and that she could possibly be ‘103,’ ” a code police use to indicate someone has been killed.
Police arrested Gemeille at New Community Church, at 9621 Six Forks Road, just north of Interstate 540.
That was the second time Raleigh police had charged Gemeille with murder.
In July 2010, he and three others were charged with the beating death of a 28-year-old man at a North Raleigh apartment complex, though Gemeille was not convicted, according to state records.
The first-degree murder verdicts this week each carry an automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Blythe: 919-836-4948; Twitter: @AnneBlythe1