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Convicted after 25 years

Manitoba couple slain in Texas

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EDINBURG, Texas — A jury in Texas has found a man guilty of the murder of a Manitoba couple 25 years ago.

Evan Squires, 70, and his wife Wilda Squires, 65, of Minnedosa, were snowbirds who regularly spent the winter months in Weslaco, Texas.

They were shot and killed in their mobile home in the Magic Valley Trailer Park on Nov. 13, 1988.

A jury found Arturo Almaguer, 44, guilty of capital murder.

Assistant district attorney Joaquin Zamora said Almaguer is to be sentenced today. Zamora said his office would not seek the death penalty.

When Almaguer was arrested two years ago, Erle Jury, Wilda’s son, told the Brandon Sun it was hard to find closure with the case still unsolved.

"We’re happy about it," Jury said of the arrest. "My brother and my sister, they’re happy that something can be resolved here."

Evan Squires was shot once and his wife twice, said Zamora. It appears the two had been sleeping before the shooting because they were wearing pyjamas.

Zamora had said it was hard to put the case together since many witnesses, some seniors who also lived in the trailer park, have died.

Police who later examined the trailer made an odd discovery: feces on the floor. Experts were able to collect enough skin and blood cells from the feces to get a DNA profile.

Authorities said they got a match when Almaguer was arrested two years ago for heroin possession in Michigan.

The killings were thought to have been a robbery gone wrong, but police failed to make headway with evidence at the time, and the investigation stalled. DNA from the scene, however, was entered into an American national registry.

At the time of the crime, police had recovered three bullets believed to have been fired from a .38 or .357 Magnum handgun.

They also found a portable radio, a silverware chest and a number of other items gathered together in the living room.

It was thought the Squireses had been in bed sleeping and were awakened by noises in the living room. They got up, walked down the hallway and surprised one or more would-be burglars. The intruders then shot the Squireses and fled, leaving their bodies behind in a pool of blood.

Evan and Wilda had met a few years earlier at the same trailer park where they would later be killed, and wed in 1986 — the second marriage for both.

Although the couple regularly spent winters in Texas, Wilma’s son said at the time of the arrest that they spent the large part of every year in Minnedosa with their families.

 

— The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 4, 2014 A3

History

Updated on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 3:30 PM CST: Fixes last reference to Wilda.

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