Man Guilty in Killing of 2 Northwest High School Seniors Has Conviction Reinstated

A man convicted of premediated murder for his role in the ambush killings of two Northwest High School seniors had his conviction reinstated Monday by the Maryland Court of Appeals. His sentence of life without the possibility of parole continues.

Rony Galicia, 30, of Boyds, originally was convicted in the June 2017 killing of the teenagers. According to court records, on the eve of their high school graduation from Northwest High School in June of 2017, Shadi Ali Najjar, 17, and Artem Ziberov, 18, were ambushed and shot multiple times while they sat in a parked car in Montgomery Village.

Four men, including Galicia, were convicted of the murders in three separate trials. In January 2021, the Court of Special Appeals reversed Galicia’s conviction on the basis of two evidentiary issues that arose during his trial.

The first issue involved whether the court abused its discretion when it would not allow Galicia to cross-examine one of the witnesses about out-of-court statements allegedly made by one of the defendants. The second issue concerned a witness’ trail’s testimony about tracking Galicia’s location by cell phones and other devices if the witness was not qualified as an expert to testify that a smartphone user may turn off the location tracking feature.

“The opinion from Maryland’s highest court reaffirms what the State believed from the beginning. Rony Galicia is, indeed, responsible for the violent deaths of these two teenagers along with his co-defendants. We are pleased to learn the jury’s decision will be upheld and Galicia will continue to serve out his sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Our hearts are with the families of the victims today,” said State’s Attorney John McCarthy.

Galicia originally was convicted of two counts of first-degree premeditated murder, two counts of first-degree felony murder, conspiracy to commit murder, two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and armed robbery.

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