Costa Rica: Killer of 2 U.S. Women Sentenced

A 16-year-old Costa Rican youth convicted in the March killings of two American women has been sentenced to 15 years in prison, judicial sources said.

Olger Castro Cruz, sentenced on Wednesday in a judicial proceeding closed to the press, received the maximum penalty for murder that a minor can under Costa Rican law. He could be released after seven years, authorities said.

Emily Howell, of Lexington, Ky., and Emily Rachel Eagen, of Ann Arbor, Mich., both 19, were both shot in the head and their bodies left along a highway near the Caribbean coastal town of Puerto Viejo.

Castro Cruz was accused of firing one of two guns used in the murders. Police said he then wrecked the victims’ rented pickup truck and sold the gun, a Spanish-made Basque pistol.

Another Costa Rican man is under arrest and facing trial for the killings and a Nicaraguan suspect wanted in the case is a fugitive.

Howell was a student at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio and was in Costa Rica on a college cooperative education program. Eagen was a former Antioch student. Both had been living for in the Costa Rican capital for some weeks.

Police earlier said the two women may have given the three suspects a ride in their pickup truck. They also said the motive for the murders was perhaps robbery, and that the killers may have been under the influence of drugs.