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Man charged with gunning down teen siblings over T-shirt appears in court

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WEST JORDAN — A man charged with gunning down teenage siblings in an argument that began over a T-shirt made his initial appearance in court Friday.

The courtroom was empty as Mario Cervantes-Angel, 28, was brought in with his hands shackled behind his back. He answered "yeah" when the judge asked to confirm his identity.

Cervantes-Angel is charged with two counts of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, in the deaths of the brother and sister — Jose Izazaga, 16, and his 15-year-old sister, Abril. He also faces charges of obstructing justice and possession of a firearm by a restricted person, both second-degree felonies.

Cervantes-Angel went to a condominium complex at 759 W. 7720 South on July 6 to confront Jose about a T-shirt and other property, according to police. An 18-year-old man, his sister and his mother, who was dating Cervantes-Angel, were also present.

All of the males involved "engaged in a verbal and physical altercation," and all the females present did the same, charging documents state. When Cervantes-Angel went to the women's fight and pulled Abril's hair before "slamming her against a brick wall," Jose pulled out a knife to defend his sister, the charges state.

In response, Cervantes-Angel pulled a handgun from his waistband and shot the two teenagers multiple times, according to the charges. Witnesses told police Jose and Abril hugged each other as they were gunned down.

Cervantes-Angel was arrested the next day at a home in West Valley City.

He answered questions from 3rd District Judge Bruce Lubeck through an interpreter Friday. He told the judge that he had been employed before his arrest, estimating he made about $4,000 per month, but he didn't believe he could afford to hire an attorney.

"I have a wife and kids," he responded in Spanish, when asked if he had been supporting anyone financially before his arrest.

Salt Lake County deputy district attorney Nathan Evershed asked that Cervantes-Angels' next hearing be scheduled far enough out for him to be appointed and meet with a public defender. Prosecutors also informed the judge that a hold for U.S. immigration officials has been placed on Cervantes-Angel.

He will return to court Aug. 25 before Judge William Kendall.

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com, Twitter: McKenzieRomero