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Two murder suspects in custody in Merced

Two men are facing murder charges in the North Valley after shell casing led Merced police to 27-year-old Pete Valenzuela and 22-year-old Patrick Cervantes.
(Angela Greewood Reporting)

Two men are facing murder charges in the North Valley after shell casing led Merced police to 27-year-old Pete Valenzuela and 22-year-old Patrick Cervantes.

It's been a long investigation, but after six months of grueling work, police believe they've got the guys responsible for three separate killings. 

Sgt. Scott Skinner with the Merced Police Department said, "We're kinda ecstatic, started with very little."

Pete Valenzuela and Patrick Cervantes are facing multiple murder charges. 

The first homicide happened back in October when police say 42-year-old Antonio Jacobo was shot and killed near the 1300 block of West Sixth Street. 

"We were able to locate some 9mm shell casings, and that was it at the time," said Sgt. Skinner.

Two months later, on December 1st, police worked a double homicide in a neighborhood on West 23rd Street where two 21-year-old men, Luis Morales and Benjamin Mano, were found dead. 

But it was at a third shooting on December 23rd that gave police a break in both cases and both Valenzuela and Cervantes were arrested at the scene. 

No one was killed that day, but shots were fired and police found 9mm shell casings on the ground, identical to what was found at the other two shootings. "We did get results back which links all three cases together. The shell casings in each case matched being the same gun was used in all three cases," said Sgt. Skinner. 

Valenzuela has been charged with the murder of Jacobo, Morales and Manaro. Cervantes was also charged in the murders of Morales and Manaro. 
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