Arlington, VA

An Arlington man is now facing decades behind bars after a jury convicted him of murdering his roommate last year.

A Circuit Court jury found 29-year-old Heber Amaya-Gallo guilty of one count of second degree murder on Thursday (July 26). The jury recommended a 36-year sentence for the killing, but a judge will have the final say on the matter.

Prosecutors alleged that Amaya-Gallo strangled 55-year-old Michael Wiggins after an argument between the two roommates became physical on Jan. 30, 2017. The pair lived in a home along the 5100 block of 7th Road S. in Arlington Mill.

Amaya-Gallo was initially charged with first degree murder immediately after the killing, but the jury would ultimately agree to convict him on a lesser charge following a four-day trial last week.

“The jury’s verdict and sentence of 36 years in prison reflects this community’s abiding belief that crimes of violence against vulnerable victims will not be tolerated,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos said in a statement. “The defendant’s actions in choking to death a person who provided him with a home, food and friendship were cruel and heartless. We thank the jury for giving this case the attention and seriousness it deserved.”

Amaya-Gallo is set for a sentencing hearing in Circuit Court on Oct. 12.

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