Salem shooting defendants sentenced to life in prison
SALEM — Frank Romero and Pedro Suarez were each sentenced to life in prison Friday afternoon in Marion County Circuit Court for their involvement in the 2013 shooting death of McMinnville resident Andrew Entizne in Southeast Salem.
Judge Vance Day presided over the hearing in a courtroom filled with relatives and friends of the victim and the defendants.
The Salem men must serve a minimum of 25 years before they are eligible for release. If and when they are released, they will be placed on post-prison supervision for life.
Romero, 40, and Suarez, 22, were found guilty by a 12-member jury of one count each of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The joint trial started Monday, July 7, with jury selection. Closing arguments were Tuesday. The jury returned its verdict Wednesday afternoon.
Prosecutors Henry Loebe and Bryan Orrio said following the hearing that the state only proved Romero and Suarez were accomplices with regard to their involvement in the crime. It was never proved either of them was the actual shooter. The case continues to be investigated, according to the prosecutors.
Suarez was apprehended first and charged. Six months later, Romero was taken into custody in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
He initially fled to Phoenix, Arizona, then relocated to Albuquerque. Salem police tracked him down and the Albuquerque Police Department’s Gang Unit apprehended him.
Entizne, 32, whose last known address was on Southwest Taylor Drive in McMinnville, was found dead about 3 a.m. Saturday, April 6, 2013 near the intersection of Fairway Drive and Rees Hill Road SE.
The intersection is in a residential area off Sunnyside Road. It features apartments, condominium units, single-family homes and a park.
Police responding to a shots-fired report discovered a silver sedan off the roadway in dense underbrush. Tire tracks led from the intersection to the car.
Officers discovered Entizne’s body inside. An autopsy determined he had died of a multiple gunshot wounds.
According to court records, Suarez served as a lookout for whoever fired the fatal shots as Entizne drove by. Positioning himself alongside Rees Hill Road, Suarez agreed to honk if he saw a police officer approaching and drive off as soon as he heard gunshots, which he allegedly did.
Suarez told detectives the decision to shoot Entizne was made April 5. He initially denied involvement, but eventually admitted complicity and described his role, Salem police said.
See Tuesday's print edition for additional details.