The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday upheld two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole for Ignacio Vergara, who was convicted in 2008 for a drug-related double murder in Hall County.
However, the court sent back two 20-year sentences given to Vergara by a Hall County court for charges of aggravated assault in the murders. The court found those convictions should have been included in the malice murder convictions since the charges involved the same incidents.
In August 2008, Vergara was convicted in Hall County for the 2002 shooting deaths of Alejandro Santana and Francesco Saucedo.
The two men were shot to death on a remote gravel road in South Hall for 2 kilograms of cocaine worth about $39,000, according to court documents.
The gunman in the case, Brigado Soto, pleaded guilty and also received a sentence of life without parole.
Soto testified against Vergara at trial, saying Vergara ordered him to shoot the men.
Vergara appealed, arguing that trial judge John Girardeau improperly commented on the evidence when he instructed the jury on the law regarding armed robbery. Vergara’s appellate attorney, Brian Steel, said he also believes an essential element of armed robbery was not proven, and that Vergara’s trial attorneys failed to request that the judge give certain jury instructions.
The sentences for aggravated assault will be sent back to the Hall County Superior Court for resentencing.