DENVER (Lawfuel)– A federal jury in Denver this afternoon could not reach a unanimous verdict in the penalty phase of the Rudy Sablan murder trial. As a result, Rudy Sablan will be sentenced to serve life imprisonment without the possibility of release for the October 10, 1999 murder of cell mate Joey Estrella, United States Attorney Troy Eid and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge James Davis announced. The verdict was handed down in U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel’s courtroom following a day of deliberations. The jury had found earlier Rudy Sablan guilty of first degree murder. Judge Daniel is scheduled to formally sentence Sablan on June 16th, 2008.
A different jury had previously found Rudy Sablan’s cousin, William Sablan, guilty of first degree murder. That jury also did not reach a unanimous verdict in the penalty phase, and thus William Sablan was also sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of release.
In October 10, 1999, William and Rudy Sablan murdered their cellmate, Joey Estrella, while the three were sharing a cell in the Special Housing Unit in the United States Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado.
“The Special Agents and Assistant U.S. Attorneys did an exceptional job during this difficult prosecution,” said U.S. Attorney Troy Eid. “Today’s verdict ensures that the defendant will be held accountable for his murderous actions.”