Twins face life sentences in City Heights murder

SAN DIEGO — Twin brothers arrested in Mexico in connection with a 5-year-old murder in City Heights pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony charges and were each ordered held on $3 million bail.

Anibal and Edward Avila, who are 27, were apprehended by Mexican authorities on Friday and quickly turned over to American law enforcement at the border, according to San Diego police. The twins are suspected of shooting a man to death and wounding another in City Heights on April 11, 2013.

Around 2:45 p.m. that day, officers received a report of shots being fired in an alley near 4000 39th Street, SDPD Lt. Anthony Dupree said.

When police arrived, they found two men with gunshot wounds lying in the alley. One survived, but the other, later identified as 34-year-old Rafael Robles, succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.

The Avila brothers, who were 22 at the time, were believed to have fled in a truck, Dupree said.

Warrants were issued for the twins’ arrest, but detectives believed they fled to Mexico and both remained at large until their capture last week.

Both brothers face a maximum of 82 years to life in state prison if convicted of first-degree murder, premeditated attempted murder and gun charges, Deputy District Attorney Matthew Carberry said.

A readiness conference was set for Nov. 15 and a preliminary hearing for Nov. 20.