Shooting defendants get life terms
The men were convicted of playing active supporting roles in the gunshot slaying of McMinnville resident Andrew Entizne in a early morning ambush in South Salem. The actual shooter in the April 2013 slaying has not been identified to date, and the case remains active. Judge Vance Day presided over the proceedings, held in Marion County Circuit Court. At their conclusion, he sentenced both men to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
The outburst leading to the woman’s removal was apparently triggered by Entizne’s brother, who was giving the defendants a menacing glower in a venue packed with friends and relatives of both the defendants and the victim.
Before the proceeding got underway, a sheriff’s deputy accompanied by three colleagues warned attendees to keep their emotions in check.
When the woman shouted an expletive anyway, Vance immediately ordered her removed. A pair of deputies cuffed her and escorted her out.
Romero, 40, and Suarez, 22, both of Salem, were found guilty last week by a 12-member jury of one count each of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The trial opened Monday, July 7, with jury selection. Closing arguments were delivered Tuesday and the jury returned its verdicts Wednesday.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Henry Loebe and Bryan Orrio, who said they are still hopeful of identifying and apprehending the shooter.
“We’d like something to happen sooner than later,” Loebe said. “If someone is identified, we’ll take that information to a grand jury and try to get an indictment.”
Suarez was identified first. It took Salem detectives six months to track him down, however.
He initially fled to Phoenix, Arizona, then to Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was ultimately apprehended by the Albuquerque Police Department’s Gang Unit.
Evidence eventually led detectives to Romero, and prosecutors decided on a joint trial.
Entizne, 32, whose last known address was on Southwest Taylor Drive in McMinnville, was found dead about 3 a.m. Saturday, April 6, 2013, in a residential area near the intersection of Fairway Drive and Rees Hill Road S.E. The area, off Sunnyside Road, 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 showed he died of a multiple gunshot wounds.
According to court records, Suarez served as a lookout. Positioning himself alongside Rees Hill Road, he agreed to honk if he saw a police officer approaching and drive off as soon as he heard gunshots.
Suarez told detectives the decision to shoot Entizne was made on April 5. He initially denied involvement, but eventually admitted complicity and described his role, Salem police said.
Court records never defined Romero’s role.
At sentencing, Orrio showed Day a collection of photographs of Entizne with his twin brother, his ex-wife and her child, and other friends and relatives.
“He was living a double lifestyle,” Orrio said. “He was a loyal son and he was loved by his family,” but also involved in gang activity that “he was tryng to move away from.”
Orrio read a statement from his mother, Gloria Chavez, who said her son will never have an opportunity to turn his life around.
“He trusted you as brothers and you betrayed him,” she said, addressing the defendants. “God will judge you for what you have done. I thank the jury for putting you in prison where you belong.”
Romero was represented by court-appointed attorneys Scott Howell of Salem and Steven Walls of Dallas. Suarez was represented by court-appointed attorneys Noel Grefenson and Jon Weiner, both of Salem.
Neither of the defendants took the opportunity to speak on his own behalf.
Day told Suarez that the evidence against him was overwhelming.
“You robbed a family of a son and you have robbed your own family of your presence,” he said. “That is a tragic result.”
He told Romero, “Looking at the evidence and the telephone calls, there is no doubt about your involvement.
“You took him from place-to-place. He trusted you. And the result of your actions is that he’s dead.”