With the defendant's no contest plea, Los Angeles authorities closed the case on the 2011 murders of a teenage girl and a young woman that once sparked fears of an Eastside serial killer.
Geovanni Borjas, 37, pleaded no contest to murder and rape in the cases of Michelle Lozano, 17, who disappeared on April 24, 2011, and Bree’Anna Guzman, 22, who disappeared in late December that year. He also pleaded no contest to kidnapping Guzman.
It was the second time in the Los Angeles Police Department history that familial DNA helped detectives zero in on a high-profile killer, then-Chief Charlie Beck said in announcing Borjas' arrest in 2017. The first was when investigators zeroed in on serial killer Lonnie Franklin Jr., known as the Grim Sleeper, in 2010.
A search of familial DNA turned up a near-match for evidence collected from the Eastside victims' bodies, Beck said in 2017. The partial DNA belonged to Borjas' father, and detectives looking for an exact match zeroed in on Borjas, following him until they captured a sample when he spat on a sidewalk, police said.
The deaths preceded cases of other missing women and homicide victims east of downtown, where Lozano's body was found a day after she was reported missing and where Guzman's body was discovered a month after she disappeared.
Both were found near freeways.
The Los Angeles County coroner's office said Lozano had been strangled and Guzman, whose body was badly decomposed, sustained unspecified neck trauma. The Los Angeles Times reported in 2017 that Borjas, who lived in Torrance and worked on the Eastside as a medical biller, most likely saw Guzman at his workplace and once lived near Lozano.
Beck said his department's DNA database search turned up no other open-case matches for Borjas. An attorney for Borjas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last year, after having vowed to do away with capital murder prosecutions, District Attorney George Gascón withdrew the case from death penalty consideration.
With Monday's plea, Gascón said in a statement, "Mr. Borjas finally took account for his heinous actions and is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison."
Sentencing was scheduled for Dec. 12.