Bernardo Pantaleon, 30, was found dead at a city park in Phoenix on Nov. 26. Authorities said his body had been mutilated and the suspects sent photos of the victim's disfigured body to his family via social media, according to the New York Post.
Investigators said that Pantaleon had been shot multiple times and had been disfigured with what authorities believe to be a knife.
Leonardo Santiago, 21, Manuel Carrasco Calderon, 21, Jose Rodriguez, 20, and Christopher Ibarra, 21, have been arrested on murder charges. Police suspect them to be involved in a street gang called the North Side 15th Avenue, the outlet reports.
Santiago was charged with first-degree murder, while Calderon and Rodriguez were charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Santiago and Calderon were also charged with crimes against a dead person. These three suspects were arrested on Saturday.
Manuel Carrasco Calderon, 21 (left), Jose Rodriguez, 20 (center), and Leonardo Santiago, 21, (right)
Christopher Ibarra, who was taken into custody on Monday, has been charged with first-degree murder and assisting a gang.
Christopher Ibarra, 21
Authorities revealed they found evidence that Pantaleon's murder was premeditated, which included plans to rob and kill him.
Court records state that Santiago admitted to shooting Pantaleon on claims the victim had made "an unwanted advance that made him uncomfortable," according to Fox 10 Phoenix.
Calderon allegedly used a knife to inflict severe injuries on the victim's body, and Rodriguez was in Mountain View Park at the time of the killing, according to police.
Court records show that Pantaleon's family had received images of his dead body via Instagram which reportedly came from Rodriguez's Instagram account. The suspect has denied sending them.
Authorities were able to uncover a group chat between the suspects' in which they allegedly discussed plans to kill Pantaleon.
The victim, Bernardo Pantaleon, 30
According to a probable cause statement, "Some made derogatory remarks regarding the victim's sexuality and a derogatory statement about homosexuals not being allowed" in the north side of Phoenix.
Court records state that Santiago wrote in the group chat that he was going to "get" Pantaleon on Nov. 25. Suspects Calderon and Rodriguez allegedly asked for photos of Pantaleon's dead body in the group chat and video evidence of the killing.
According to police, Ibarra's social media profile was present in the group chat where the other suspects discussed the planned murder of Pantaleon.
Aside from stating that he acknowledged "it was wrong to not say anything" regarding the premeditated murder, Ibarra purportedly confessed to being aware of it and "did not do anything about it," court records show.
Pantaleon was employed as an elderly caregiver. His loved ones referred to him as their "rock," according to NY Post, and said he "was not just full of love, but the funniest, caring loving person you will come across."
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