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Charge Upgraded to 1st-Degree Murder in Woolen Mills Killing

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Albemarle County prosecutors are clearing the way to take an alleged gang member to trial on the highest possible charges following a brutal murder last summer.

June 13, the commonwealth dropped second-degree murder charges against Eduardo Zelaya in favor of more serious charges.

The Manassas-area man now faces a count of first-degree murder, murder by mob, abduction, and criminal street gang participation.

The charges stem from the death of 24-year-old Marvin Rivera-Guevara. The victim’s body was discovered in a creek within the Woolen Mills area on July 4, 2017.

Walter Antonio Argueta Amaya, Juan Carlos Argueta, and Jose Luis Escobar-Umana are also charged with first-degree murder.

Investigators believe that some of the suspects may have affiliation with MS-13, an international criminal organization formed in Los Angeles during the 1980s.

Zelaya waived his right to a speedy trial, and his attorney is expected back in court December 3 to firm up scheduling.

A four-day jury trial for Escobar-Umana is scheduled to start on August 20, while Amaya’s trial is set to get underway on August 24.

Argueta's jury trial will get underway September 4.

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