PHX man faces death penalty for 2010 killings

Posted at 7:54 PM, Sep 21, 2015

A jury that convicted a Phoenix man of killing his half brother and 6-year-old nephew in 2010 found two aggravating circumstances in the case Monday, making him eligible for the death penalty.

The sentencing phase in the trial of Christopher Rey Licon begins Tuesday.

Jurors must be unanimous if they decide that Licon, 24, should get the death penalty, or they could sentence him to life in prison. If the jury is hung on sentencing, the judge will decide between natural life in prison or life with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

On Sept. 14, jurors rejected Licon's insanity defense and found him guilty of first-degree murder and kidnapping in the December 2010 death of 6-year-old Xavier Jaquez.

Licon also was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of his half brother, Angel Jaquez. He faces 16 to 25 years in prison for that death.

In addition, Licon was found guilty of kidnapping, burglary and tampering with evidence.

Prosecutors said Licon shot Angel Jaquez in the back of the head as he watched TV at their Phoenix townhome, then kidnapped Jaquez's son and shot him 20 miles away in an alley.

Licon was accused of killing his nephew out of fear that the child would snitch on him because the boy heard or saw his father die.

The boy, surrounded by a pool of blood, was still wearing his school uniform and had a Burger King kid's meal nearby when his body was found by sanitation workers, according to prosecutors who said the child also was shot in the back of the head.

Licon did not testify at his trial.

Authorities said a neighbor saw Licon dragging his nephew into a car that would be used to bring the child to the alley where he was killed.

Two key pieces of evidence were found inside the car: a 9 mm bullet casing that matched a casing found at the townhome, and a toy from the Burger King kid's meal, according to prosecutors.

They said Licon was in an illegal drug business with his half brother and acknowledged selling drugs in the months before both deaths.