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2 juries recommend death for Corona couple

April 22, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two juries recommended the death penalty for a couple who were convicted last month of torturing and killing one of two young nephews found dead at the family's Southern California home.Separate juries for Cathy Sarinana, 32, and Raul Sarinana, 42, reached decisions Monday and Tuesday, respectively, but Riverside County Superior Court Judge Paul E. Zellerbach sealed them until Wednesday so they could be read together.

Eleven-year-old Ricky Morales was found dead in a bedroom closet at the Sarinanas' home in Corona on Christmas Day 2005. Investigators have said the boy was beaten for not eating his breakfast.

Authorities in Washington state believe the Sarinanas also killed Ricky's 13-year-old brother, Conrad, when they lived in Randle, Wash., before moving to California.

Conrad's body was found encased in concrete in a trash bin in the carport of the couple's Riverside County home.

Authorities in Washington will decide whether to prosecute the couple for the older brother's death after reviewing the outcome of the California trial.

During the trial, Raul Sarinana's attorney argued that his client injured his nephew but never meant to kill him.

Cathy Sarinana's attorney told jurors that his client was abused by her husband and should be considered another victim.

The judge could accept the juries' death penalty recommendations or sentence the couple to life in prison at a June 12 hearing.