Two more teens arrested for the murder of a man, 69, who was found dead in North Carolina cemetery


Two more teens are charged with helping woman, 18, ‘murder model airplane enthusiast, 69’ in blood-splattered North Carolina cemetery

  • Johnathan Daniel Villanueva-Galer, 19, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with murder for the killing of James Taylor, 69
  • Maria Elizabeth Pena-Echevarria, 18, was charged with murder on Saturday 
  • Unnamed 16-year-old suspect was detained in connection with the Taylor case
  • Taylor, a model plane enthusiast, was found dead at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Raleigh on Friday night 
  • 911 caller reported finding clothes, shoes, latex gloves and large blood spatter

Authorities in North Carolina have made two more arrests in connection with the murder of a 69-year-old man who was found bleeding in a cemetery last week. 

Johnathan Daniel Villanueva-Galer, 19, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with murder in connection with the deadly attack on James Lacy Taylor at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Raleigh on Friday.

A 16-year-old suspect, who has not been named, was also taken into custody on juvenile petitions.

Last Saturday, police arrested 18-year-old Maria Pena-Echeverria on a murder charge stemming from her alleged involvement in Taylor’s killing.

Pena-Echeverria made her initial court appearance on Tuesday and was appointed a public defender.

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Johnathan Daniel Villanueva-Galer

Maria Elizabeth Pena-Echeverria, 18, has been arrested and charged with murder by authorities in Raleigh, North Carolina

Maria Elizabeth Pena-Echeverria, 18, has been arrested and charged with murder by authorities in Raleigh, North Carolina

Johnathan Daniel Villanueva-Galer, 19 (left), was arrested on a murder charge on Tuesday. On Saturday, police in Raleigh, North Carolina, arrested Maria Elizabeth Pena-Echeverria, 18 (right) in connection with the killing of a 69-year-old man at a cemetery 

The victim, James Taylor, was found suffering from fatal injuries at a cemetery in Raleigh last Friday

The victim, James Taylor, was found suffering from fatal injuries at a cemetery in Raleigh last Friday

The victim, James Taylor, was found suffering from fatal injuries at a cemetery in Raleigh last Friday 

A Wake County judge told the woman she faces life in prison without parole or the death penalty if convicted as charged, reported ABC11.

Pena-Echeverria was ordered held in jail without bond pending her next court appearance on June 21. 

The Wake County district attorney revealed that the interaction between the victim and the three suspects was not entirely random, but she would not go into further detail. 

Police were called to Mount Olivet Cemetery after getting a 911 call from a North Carolina state employee, who told an emergency dispatcher that he observed three people dart past his car, with one of them hopping over a fence.

Police were called to Mount Olivet Cemetery in the city Friday night, where they found a seriously injured man. Authorities did not specify the nature of the injuries. On Saturday, police identified the man as James Lacy Taylor

Police were called to Mount Olivet Cemetery in the city Friday night, where they found a seriously injured man. Authorities did not specify the nature of the injuries. On Saturday, police identified the man as James Lacy Taylor

Police were called to Mount Olivet Cemetery in the city Friday night, where they found a seriously injured man. Authorities did not specify the nature of the injuries. On Saturday, police identified the man as James Lacy Taylor

The trio ran to two separate vehicles, including an extended cab pickup truck and an older model brown or blue sedan, which then sped off toward Reedy Creek Road.

When the state worker entered the cemetery grounds, he said discovered clothes on the ground, which initially led him to believe that the people who fled had been ‘messing around’ there.

But then he came upon a bloody trail leading into the cemetery,

The caller reported finding a pair of black latex gloves, a pair of shoes and pants, along with ‘a splatter of blood about 2 feet wide on the ground.’

Officers who responded to the scene found a gravely wounded Taylor. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.  

Police said they are withholding Taylor’s cause of death so as not to jeopardize the investigation.

Friends told CBS17 that Taylor was well-known and liked in the local model plane community, of which he was a part.

Taylor’s close friend David Hogue described the victim as ‘one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Always willing to help you, always willing to loan you any tools. He’d give you the shirt off his back, quite literally, if you needed it.’ 

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