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Two Teens Charged with Craigslist Murder

Suspect Ryan Roth, 17, and Markell Thomas, 18

Two reputed gang members were charged with robbing and killing a man who police say was lured to his death with a Craigslist ad and gunned down in front of his 15-year-old son.
Ryan Roth, 17, and Markell Thomas, 18, were charged with murder, attempted murder and robbery in the Oct. 19 death of Rene Balbuena and the wounding of his son.

Roth, the alleged shooter, was charged as an adult. Both were arrested last week and remained jailed. Both are reputed members of an Inglewood gang, police said.

At a news conference, family members said they were grateful to investigators for finding Balbuena’s alleged killers.

“My dad is my best friend. He was everything to me and nothing’s going to bring him back,” Sandra Balbuena, 19, said in a shaking voice.

Thanks to the arrests, the alleged killer “isn’t gonna go do more damage to no one,” said Ana Guerrero, the victim’s sister.

Balbuena, 41, answered a Craigslist ad for a $300 Samsung Galaxy and drove with his son to South Los Angeles the night of Oct. 19 to buy it, authorities said.

Balbuena texted the supposed sellers to let them know he was there and minutes later two men came up to the car from behind. Thomas allegedly jumped into the back seat and pointed a gun at Balbuena’s son and both robbers demanded money, Detective Chris Barling said.

Balbuena got out of the car and Roth shot him several times, Barling contended. Balbuena was declared dead at a hospital. His son was grazed. The robbers ran off without taking any money, Barling said.

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