Photo: Jorge Palacios
LOS ANGELES – After nearly 17 years, a man was finally convicted by a jury in the murder of a 13-year-old Whittier girl.
39-year-old Jorge Palacios was found guilty on Thursday in the murder of Jacqueline Piazza. His conviction includes the special circumstance of rape, lewd acts on a child and kidnapping.
On June 27, 2001 the victim was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and then shot twice in the head and left at Elysian Park. Piazza’s naked body was discovered the next day. The same charges are also pending in current trials against 40-year-old Rogelio Contreras, 38-year-old Melvin Sandoval and 35-year-old Santos Grimaldi. The group has connections with the MS-13 gang.
The case went unsolved for over a decade, but new information was uncovered and the case became active again.
Palacios faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole at his sentencing hearing on April 11.