Maryland’s Highest Court Upholds Murder Conviction for Man who Helped Kill Two Northwest High School Students in Montgomery Village in 2017 

by Patrick Herron

In June 2017, on the eve of their graduation from Northwest High School, Shadi Ali Najjar, 17, and Artem Ziberov, 18, were ambushed and shot multiple times while they sat in a parked car in Montgomery Village. The Maryland Court of Appeals released its opinion today, affirming the second-degree murder convictions of Roger Garcia, 24, of Germantown, for his involvement in their deaths.  Garcia will continue serving his 100-year prison sentence.

Garcia was one of three men convicted in the murders. Co-defendants, Jose Canales-Yanez, and Edgar Garcia-Gaona, were each found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. The Maryland Court of Appeals reinstated the murder conviction for co-defendant, Rony Galicia, on June 27th, 2022. He is also serving a life sentence without parole.

According to the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, at issue was whether a valid legal foundation exists to convict a defendant of second-degree intent to kill murder, as an accessory before the fact. The Court of Special Appeals held that it is conceivable for an accessory before the fact to aid, on impulse and without premeditation, another in the commission of a homicide with the intent to kill. Today the higher Court of Appeals affirmed that decision.

“Following this latest opinion, the convictions of all four co-defendants in the murders of two high school seniors in our community have been affirmed in the appeals process. Roger Garcia and the others who played a role in taking these young lives are being held responsible. Justice is served by the court’s decision. Though it will not bring the teenagers back, we hope this provides some relief for the families of  Shadi Ali Najjar and Artem Ziberov. Our hearts remain with them today,” said State’s Attorney John McCarthy.

You can read the full opinion here:


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