Kansas City, Mo. A man accused of ordering three enforcers from a Colombian cocaine cartel to kill a drug dealer and his nephew has avoided the death penalty handed down to two co-defendants.
Federal jurors announced Thursday that they could not reach a unanimous agreement on the death penalty for Edwin Hinestroza, 35, formerly of Leawood, Kan. He now faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.
Jurors considered the death penalty after finding Hinestroza guilty Monday of cocaine distribution, murder for hire and using a firearm in a drug-trafficking crime that resulted in first-degree murder.
Three other Colombian men were convicted in the 1998 killing of Julian Colon, 23, a Colombian living in Overland Park, Kan.
Two of the men, Arboleda Ortiz and German Sinisterra, were sentenced to death, while a third man, Plutarco Tello, was ordered to spend the rest of his life behind bars with no possibility for parole.
Colon and his nephew, Herberth Andres Borja-Molina, then 17, were attacked, beaten and shot at, but the bullet missed the younger man. He pretended to be dead, and he and his uncle were put into the trunk of a car that was abandoned in a park, where he escaped.
Borja-Molina said Hinestroza had accused him and his uncle of stealing $240,000 in drug profits.
Hinestroza, who has acknowledged he was a major drug dealer, spent five years as a fugitive after the killing.