Alabama man convicted of killing parents, wrapping them in plastic, burying them in shallow graves

Published 8:52 pm Monday, March 16, 2020

An Alabama man was convicted Monday of killing his parents and burying their bodies in a shallow grave.

Leo Santiago Chavez, 20, was convicted of three counts of capital murder and two counts of abusing a corpse in the deaths of his mother, Adalberta Chavez Ruiz, and his father, Ricardo Santiago Gonzales, news outlets reported.

Ruiz and Gonzales were reported missing on Dec. 16, 2017 by family members who hadn’t heard from the couple.

The relatives went to the couples’ home in Cleveland and found blood, authorities said.
The investigation led authorities to Chavez and three other men, who were arrested over the next few weeks. Authorities recovered the couples’ remains on Jan. 3, 2018 in a wooden area in Oneonta.

Prosecutors said Chavez and his accomplices fatally shot Ruiz and Gonzales, wrapped their bodies in black plastic and placed them in the back of Gonzales’ pickup truck before dumping them in a shallow grave. Gonzales’ truck was later found in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with blood stains in the truck’s bed.

Court records said Chavez contacted a cousin and asked if she knew where he could hide two people who were in trouble. About a week later, Ruiz and Gonzales were killed.

Records said Chavez offered a former classmate $150 to drive two of his friends to the couple’s home the night they disappeared. Chavez also attempted to sell the former classmate two pistols, records said.

A motive for the killing wasn’t immediately released.

Chavez’s sentencing date is set for May 1.