Crime & Justice

2 convicted of New Year's Eve 2006 killings

Matthew Koontz and Jonathan Blackwell were convicted of first-degree murder today for the 2006 New Year's Eve killings of Raul Cruz and his teenage stepdaughter, Jessica Cipriano, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Blackwell allegedly fatally shot Cruz and Cipriano after he and Koontz broke into the victims' Koreatown apartment on New Year's Eve, 2006. Micaela Estrada, Cruz's common-law wife and Cipriano's mother, was wounded but survived the attack.

Koontz and Blackwell face a maximum penalty of death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. The penalty phase begins tomorrow morning, according to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Bob Bowers, who presided over the trial.