FLORENCE — An 18-year-old Maricopa man was found guilty on Monday of a murder he later was recorded as saying he’d do “again.”
The jury took little time in reaching a verdict for Arthur Magana in the first-degree murder of Wyatt Miller. The defendant also was found guilty of armed robbery.
The 20-year-old victim was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds inside his truck on Nov. 7, 2016. Magana, who was 16 at the time, was found hiding at a nearby residence with an accomplice, Gustavo Olivo, in a remote area of Maricopa.
Deputy Pinal County Attorney Patrick Johnson called Miller’s death a “planned execution” and accused Magana of bragging about the crime shortly after he was arrested.
“He’s proud of what he did,” Johnson said.
Some of the most damning evidence against the teenager were video clips of Magana talking to Olivo while in police custody. The defendant mentions elements of Miller’s death and at one point says he’d “do it again.”
In another video, Magana describes Miller’s face swelling up before he took his last breath. Then there’s laughter heard after these comments.
Miller was shot 11 times in the head and back with a gun that investigators say was purchased by a family member of the defendant. Magana is heard saying he “overdid it” in his recorded conversation with Olivo.
Johnson called these remarks “disgusting” and considered the videos to be a confession.
Magana declined to testify during the trial.
The defense highlighted how there was another gun found in Miller’s truck that was never tested by investigators. The state argued there’s no evidence Miller had been aggressive or threatening, which could have prompted Magana to act in self-defense.
After the verdict was read, Miller’s parents were called to testify in a hearing to determine whether aggravating factors exist in the case.
The mother and father spoke emotionally about Miller’s “tender heart” and “good spirit.”
“The loss of a child is so painful and the pain never goes away,” said Maxine Medlock, the victim’s mother.
Olivo already accepted a plea deal and was sentenced shortly before Magana’s trial. Magana will be sentenced at a later date.
It’s believed Magana and Olivo arranged to meet with Miller in order to buy some marijuana from him. Investigators later found a trash bag with some drugs and cash at the house where Olivo and Magana were discovered.
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office was led to that house through two sets of footprints found around Miller’s truck. Investigators further uncovered bloody clothing stuffed in a freezer at the residence.
Two articles of clothing taken from the suspects tested positive for Miller’s DNA profile, according to expert testimony.
The Pinal County Attorney’s Office says it intends to seek a natural life sentence for Magana.