Second man convicted in drug dealer's shooting
Plea deal - Danial Lopez-Romero faces a three-decade term for an execution-style killing

Thursday, June 29, 2006
The Oregonian
A Southeast Portland man was convicted Wednesday of taking a fellow drug dealer into the Mount Hood National Forest nearly two years ago, shooting him in the head and leaving him there.

Danial Lopez-Romero, 29, pleaded no contest in Multnomah County Circuit Court to the aggravated murder of Carlos Villarreal, 30, who worked for Lopez-Romero in an illegal-drug trade. Lopez-Romero was scheduled to go to trial in August.

In January, Maurilio Navarro Ornelas, 28, went to prison for Villarreal's death. He pleaded guilty to one count of felony murder with a firearm and received a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of release in 25 years.

Lopez-Romero and Navarro Ornelas initially were charged with aggravated murder and other felonies such as kidnapping. Both men reached an agreement with the district attorney to settle their cases.

Judge Michael McShane found Lopez-Romero guilty of Villarreal's kidnapping and murder and sentenced him to serve seven years for the kidnapping first, then a life sentence with the possibility of parole in 30 years. Lopez-Romero, a Mexican national, is not a legal immigrant and could be deported after he serves his time.

The plea agreement also clears cases for other crimes in three other counties, including the Jan. 9, 2004, shooting death of Jose Manuel Carvajal Ramirez, 35, outside the Greek Village Tavern in the Washington County town of Cedar Hills. Authorities determined the shooting was in self-defense.

Villarreal disappeared after Aug. 15, 2004. On Nov. 5, near a remote logging road about eight miles east of Government Camp, a mushroom picker found his bones. -- Anne Saker