Alfonso Sanchez, a Philadelphia man, was found guilty on Monday for the murder of two people in a Warminster home in 2007. Sanchez was convicted for the killings of Lisa Diaz, 27, and Mendez Thomas, 22, as well as attempting to have a witness killed while awaiting a retrial.
The same Bucks County jury that convicted Sanchez will now determine if he should receive the death penalty. The penalty phase begins on Tuesday.
During closing arguments, District Attorney Matt Weintraub stated that the surviving victim had consistently identified Sanchez as the attacker responsible for the deaths of her sister and boyfriend. Weintraub described the crime scene as a “killing zone,” where Sanchez transformed the small apartment into a shooting gallery during his violent rampage.
Initially, Anthony Sparango, a co-defendant from Souderton, was scheduled to be tried alongside Sanchez. However, his trial has been postponed. County detectives have accused Sparango of assisting Sanchez while he was in prison.
In 2008, Sanchez, now 41, was found guilty of the murders. However, he was granted a new trial in 2017 after it was discovered that DNA lab reports were not provided to his attorneys during the initial trial.
Deputy District Attorney Matthew Lannetti informed jurors that on October 17, 2007, Sanchez, Steven Miranda, and Alexander Martinez went to Mendez’s Bucks Landing apartment home, pretending to buy marijuana from him.
Lannetti explained that after a brief altercation, Sanchez shot and killed Mendez and then fatally shot Diaz for witnessing the murder. Mendez’s girlfriend was also shot but survived the attack.
Miranda and Martinez turned themselves in the following day, while Sanchez was discovered hiding in a Montgomery County residence a week later. Martinez, 36, testified against the others in exchange for a lesser sentence and was paroled last year. Miranda, 35, was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Lannetti also told jurors that Sanchez attempted to have a witness killed while in prison. A Bucks County detective testified to listening to thousands of hours of prison calls in which Sanchez used coded language to organize the hit.
In response, Sanchez’s defense attorney, Francis Genovese, argued that the evidence pointed to Miranda, not Sanchez, as the one responsible for the killings.
Genovese also claimed that while Sanchez spoke negatively about the witness in prison, he never intended to have her killed.