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A Virginia man who gunned down his ex-girlfriend and her father in front of the former couple's two children at her trailer more than half a decade ago has been convicted in the case.
Amos Jacob "A.J." Arroyo, 36, was found guilty by jurors on Monday of two separate counts of first-degree murder for the 2017 slayings of Patricia "Tricia" Joseph and her 67-year-old father, Jessie Abraham Barnes, according to the Newport News Daily Press.
He was also convicted of an additional six charges in connection with the double killing: two counts of felony child neglect, two gun charges, burglary with a dangerous weapon and shooting in an occupied dwelling.
Joseph and Barnes as they watched television with her two sons and Joseph’s boyfriend at a trailer in Newport News on July 30, 2017, WTKR-TV reported. At the time, Joseph’s two sons were aged six and one. Arroyo knocked on the door and opened fire before Joseph could answer it.
One of those sons emerged as a key witness for prosecutors at trial.
The child, now 11, recounted on the witness stand how he’d been “playing with [his] toys” on the day of the shooting when his father first knocked at the trailer door. When the child emerged from his bedroom “to see what was going on,” he said he witnessed his mother being shot.
"My dad started shooting ... and I saw my dad coming inside the house,” the boy testified, according to the Daily Press.
Arroyo then entered the trailer and fired another 8-10 shots, chasing Barnes into the trailer's bathroom to kill him.
The boy then testified he remembered seeing his mother "had gotten shot to the ground" and that Barnes had been killed in the bathroom.
"I followed my grandpa, because I saw him running to the bathroom," he added.
Joseph's boyfriend, Jonathan Yeanan, also took the stand during trial proceedings last week.
Yeanan, who testified he’d been romantically involved with Joseph for approximately six months at the time of her death, told the court he was about to leave her home when an armed Arroyo arrived at the property. He said he was able to survive by hiding in a closet at the residence as Arroyo opened fire.
"[Joseph] looked out the window, and said, 'Oh my God,'" Yeanan told emergency dispatchers. "Next thing you know, shots were fired and she he said, 'Oh, my God, he shot me.'"
He also told the dispatcher that the kids had witnessed the murders.
“'Did you kill Mommy?'” he told them that the boy asked Arroyo. “'Did you kill Mommy? Why did you do that?'”
Arroyo reportedly replied that everything would be OK, and then fled. He spent six months on the lam in Georgia before turning himself into authorities in January.
Arroyo claimed that he was intoxicated at the time of the shooting and had gone to the house — with two handguns — intending to kill himself in front of Joseph.
The jury didn't buy it. Arroyo is now facing the possibility of life behind bars. His sentencing has been set for Dec. 2.
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