WENATCHEE — The Chelan County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has filed a second murder charge against Julius Ceballos, the alleged killer of 18-year-old Hannia “Paulina” Mosqueda Rodriguez.
Detectives with the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office believe Ceballos, 21, stabbed Mosqueda to death in October 2019 and then disposed of her body in the Horse Lake Preserve. Mosqueda’s body was found in March 2020.
Witnesses who claimed to have spoken with Ceballos about the Waterville girl’s disappearance say he killed her because she disrespected his gang, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Superior Court.
Ceballos was arrested June 29 at his home on Kittitas Street in Wenatchee. The day before his arrest, Deputy Prosecutor Ryan Valaas filed a charge of first-degree murder against Ceballos.
On Thursday, Valaas filed an additional charge of second-degree murder against Ceballos.
“It just more accurately reflects the potential conduct that he did,” Valaas said Friday. “It’s kind of just an alternative way to look at the crime he committed.”
Second-degree murder does not require prosecutors to prove premeditation.
Should a jury find Ceballos guilty of both counts, he would only be sentenced for the most serious charge, Valaas said.
First-degree murder and second-degree murder are both punishable by up to life in prison, but first-degree carries with it a longer standard sentence.
Ceballos was expected to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty Wednesday but the arraignment hearing was rescheduled to Monday.
Ceballos is being held at the Chelan County Regional Justice Center on $2 million bail.