Not guilty verdict reached in Craigslist murder trial

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Ryan Roth was found not guilty for the murder of 41-year-old Rene Balbuena, who died in front of his 15-year-old son when they responded to a Craigslist ad offering a smartphone for sale. (KABC)

Ryan Roth was found not guilty for the 2013 murder of 41-year-old Rene Balbuena, who was killed in front of his 15-year-old son when they responded to a Craigslist ad offering a smartphone for sale.

Roth was charged with murder, attempted murder and robbery. The jury deliberated for three days and were deadlocked on two counts of robbery.

Roth and another man, Markell Thomas, were accused of using a Craigslist advertisement to bait buyers to quiet locations. The two were suspected of then robbing those buyers at gunpoint.

In October 2013, Balbuena and his son headed out to South Los Angeles to purchase a cellphone advertised on Craigslist. Authorities said Balbuena was shot when he got out of his car and the suspects fled the scene.

Thomas took a plea deal of 26 years in state prison to testify against Roth during the trial. Balbuena's 15-year-old son was also a witness in the trial.
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court caseattempted murdermurderrobberytrialcraigslistLos AngelesLos Angeles County
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