HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — A man accused of killing a woman and beheading her 13-year-old granddaughter in 2018 has a trial date.
Yoni Aguilar is one of the two men charged with capital murder for the suspected cartel killings of Oralia Mendoza and Mariah Lopez. Israel Palomino is also charged with capital murder in the case.
The Madison County District Attorney’s Office says a judge set the trial for May 1, 2023, at the Madison County Courthouse.
Court documents show Yoni Martinez Aguilar and Israel Palomino were indicted in 2019 in the deaths of 49-year-old Oralia Mendoza and her 13-year-old granddaughter, Mariah Lopez.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office identified a body found on Lemley Drive in Owens Cross Roads as Mariah Lopez. Shortly after, Lopez’s grandmother was reported missing.
The sheriff’s office later discovered human remains two miles from Lemley Drive near Moon Cemetery. The remains were later identified as Mendoza.
Madison County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Stacy Rutherford testified at a preliminary hearing in July 2018 that the murders were related to Mendoza’s ties to the Sinaloa drug cartel and that Lopez was beheaded after witnessing Mendoza being stabbed, according to our news partner AL.com.
Both Aguilar and Palomino face two counts of capital murder. Court documents show Palomino’s jury trial is set to take place on December 5, 2022.
If convicted, Aguilar could face the death penalty.