Witnesses Identify Suspects in Slaying of Utah Tourist

Witnesses Identify Suspects in Slaying of Utah Tourist

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CANTEL, Guatemala (AP) -- Two men arrested in the slaying of a U.S. tourist were identified in a police lineup on Thursday by witnesses to the Jan. 7 killing.

"They're cooked now," prosecutor Eva Marina Gonzalez told one of the witnesses who said the men took part in the bus robbery in which Brett Richards of Ogden, Utah, was shot to death.

One of the survivors, Pat Allen, said she immediately recognized one of the detainees, Henry Geovanny Vicente Gabriel, 27, as the man who had shot bus driver Filiberto Roca in the foot. Also picked out was Marvin Sebastian Verganza, 29.

Richards, a 52-year-old architect, was shot in the chest and died on the way to a hospital after men boarded a tourist bus and opened fire with automatic weapons.

Richards was traveling with several other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons from Quetzaltenango to the Mexican border.

The robbers led the other passengers into a forest and forced them to lie face down before stealing their belongings.

The attack took place in Colomba, 120 miles west of Guatemala City. It was the first reported murder of a U.S. citizen in Guatemala since July 2002. Nuevo San Carlos, the second suspect's hometown, is located about 20 miles from Colomba.

On Thursday, witnesses peered through a small opening in a paper covering a window at the prison in Cantel, a town in Quetzaltenango.

Verganza was arrested Jan. 28. Police said he had bought fried chicken several times using the credit card of one of the victims.

Vicente was arrested on Feb. 2 a few kilometers (miles) from the site of the bus attack. U.S. State Department agents aided in the operation, according to the embassy.

Guatemalan tourism authorities flew Allen and Marcella Morley here so that they could help identify the attackers.

Tourism last year was second only to family remittances as a source of foreign revenue for Guatemala, reaching $599 million.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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