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Two men found guilty of 2006 IE robbery spree

ABC7 Eyewitness News HD covering Los Angeles and Southern California.

January 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
A jury has found two men guilty of a series of 2006 robberies in the Coachella Valley. George Gomez Jr., 36, and 36-year-old Raul Avina were both convicted after the jury deliberated for about four hours on Monday. Gomez was convicted of 30 counts, while Avina was convicted of 28. Prosecutors say from April to June of 2006, the two men went on a crime spree, terrorizing innocent victims in front of their homes, near their places of work, or outside of shopping centers. Deputy District Attorney Deana Bohenek told jurors the men would constantly rack a gun, making people fear they'd be shot. It is estimated that they made off with nearly $10,000 in cash and belongings.

"The heroes of this case are the victims who came forward initially, and then time and time again, to ensure that no one else in our community would have to endure what they had at the hands of these two defendants," Bohenek said.

Bohenek says the men confessed to most of the robberies after detectives searched their home and found a bucket full of stolen ID and credit cards.

This was the second trial for Avina and Gomez. In July, their first trial ended in mistrial due to juror misconduct.

Sentencing is scheduled for February 3 for Avina and for March 4 for Gomez. According to the prosecutor, Avina faces about 80 years in state prison. Gomez faces about 110 years.

City News Service contributed to this report.