Three people have been charged with murder for the deaths of six Mexican immigrants who were killed during robberies in south Georgia.
Stacy Bernard Sims, 19, Jamie Underwood, 27, and Jennifer Wilson, 26, were charged with six counts of murder for the attacks last week in Tift County, authorities announced Wednesday at a news conference.
Sims and Underwood were arrested Tuesday and accused of shooting and beating a Hispanic man and raping his wife in neighboring Colquitt County on the same night of the killings.
Authorities said they believe Sims and Underwood may have been part of an armed-robbery gang that preyed on immigrant workers, who often carry large sums of cash because they lack documents that some banks require to open accounts.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan has said there have been about 20 home invasions targeting Hispanics in adjoining Tift, Colquitt and Cook counties within the past three months.
The attacks have sent a chill through south Georgia’s large Hispanic community, which includes thousands of workers who harvest millions of dollars worth of crops each year.
The six slain victims were identified as Mateo Gomez, 54; Felipe Mauricio Esparza, 32; Armando Perez Martinez, 25; Jose Luis Tias, 20; Mauricio Florindo, age unknown; and Guadalupe Sanchez, age unknown.
Officials of the Mexican consulate in Atlanta have been working to transport the victims’ bodies to Mexico for burial.