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Colombia soldiers convicted of murdering family

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Five soldiers on trial for slaughtering

the members of a household in central Colombia were found guilty and sentenced to 35-40 years in prison, reported Caracol Radio Tuesday.

The Criminal Chamber of the Superior Tribunal of Ibague upheld convictions against the men for murdering a family of five in Potosi, a rural area outside of Cajamarca in the department of Tolima.

The tribunal sentenced John Jairo Guzman Gallego to 40 years in prison, while Albeiro Pérez Duque, Noel Briñez Pérez, Jhon Jairo Vizcaya Rodríguez and Luis Fernando Ramos Martínez each received 35-year sentences.

The soldiers massacred farmers Norberto Mendoza Reyes (34), Albeiro Mendoza Reyes (18), Yamile Arango Urueña (18), Julio Cesar Santana Reyes (14) and Cristian Mendoza Urueña, a baby of only six months of age on April 10, 2004.

The men claimed that they mistook the family for a criminal group. However, evidence that Noberto Mendoza Reyes survived that initial gunfire surfaced during the course of the investigation.

The prosecution successfully proved that the soldiers returned to finish the job.

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