Three minors charged as adults in a series of armed robberies in the Metairie which were set up via social media and ended in the death of a victim, one victim pleaded no guilty Friday.
On April 15, a grand jury in Jefferson Parish indicted Aryani Gicell Torrez Miranda, Lionel Matute Desantos and Astrid Lopez Orellana, all 17 years, on charges ranging from second degree murder to armed robbery and conspiracy to sight of committing an armed robbery, according to court records. Three adult defendants, Daniel Eliu Rivera, 20, Mayki Josue Meza Torres, 19, and Jesus Enrique Rivera Martinez, 18, have also been charged.
Torrez, Matute and Lopez argued in Jefferson Parish Magistrates’ Court, appearing by video conference from the Rivarde Juvenile Detention Center, where they were being held.
The adult defendants and Wilmer Moreno, 19, the seventh suspect charged directly by the Jefferson Parish Attorney’s Office, have pleaded not guilty in previous proceedings.
The flights took place between January 14 and January 22. Investigators from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office suspect Torrez, posing as a woman named “Chinita,” used social networking apps such as Snapchat and Facebook to entice men.
The men were going to pick up Torrez for what was supposed to be a date. But she would encourage them to go to the back parking lot of a business in block 3100 of Houma Boulevard in Metairie, where armed co-conspirators allegedly stole money, wallets and cell phones from them, authorities said.
In the fourth and final heist on the night of January 22, suspected gunmen Matute and Meza opened fire when the car of victim Carlos Castillo, 18, jumped forward, possibly be in an attempt to escape, authorities said.
Castillo was shot in the head and died. His body, slumped behind the wheel of his car, was discovered the next morning by residents nearby, according to the sheriff’s office.
Torrez, Matute, Meza and Eliu were charged with second degree murder and armed robbery in Castillo’s death, court records show.
Eliu, described by detectives as the group’s “main conspirator” and escape driver, has also been charged with three additional counts of armed robbery and one count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
Investigators accused Eliu of planning the flights with Torrez and of using GPS to track her after she encountered the victims.
The other defendants were charged as follows:
- Meza, with three additional counts of armed robbery and one count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
- Torrez, with three additional heads of armed robbery.
- Rivera and Moreno, with armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
- Orellana, with armed robbery.
The adult accused were being held at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna. It was not clear on Friday whether the minors will be transferred to Gretna prison.