FREDERICK, MD - The man indicted for the murder of a Frederick Burger King employee last March pleaded guilty in court Tuesday morning.
Frederick City Police say Jose Reyes Mejia-Varela, from El Salvador, pleaded guilty to first degree murder for shooting and killing Jacinta Ayala at the Burger King along East Patrick Street.
"I think the factors [to the guilty plea] are the sound case that was put together, the fact that we were able to backtrack his location. We were able to take the information that we did have, the alibis that he provided initially, and we were able to basically show that they were lies," said Lt. Clark Pennington, with the Frederick City Police Department.
Police say as part of the plea deal, he will face a life sentence.
"My reaction to him pleading guilty is it's kind of bittersweet," Pennington said. "We're talking about a woman who was tragically killed, but we were able to put the murderer in jail, and ultimately he'll get a pretty stiff sentence."
Those with Frederick City Police believe good detective work and the involvement of the community helped lead to the guilty plea.
"The amount of work that was done between the Frederick City Police Department, the Frederick County State's Attorney's Office, the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, and multiple jurisdictions from Virginia to Maryland, including several federal partners, the work that was done in this case was exemplary," says Pennington.
The sentencing date is set for February 26th.