Arrests made in recent L.A. craigslist killing

Roth and Thomas

Arrests Made in “Craigslist Murder” of SoCal Father:

I originally posted about the craigslist murder of Rene Balbuena here. He was shot and killed on the streets of L.A. in front of his 15-year-old son. He was lured to his death by someone who was supposed to be selling him a cell phone. Instead two people allegedly fired into Balbuena’s car, killing him and grazing his son.

The suspects were at large until late last week when 17-year-old Ryan Roth and 18-year-old Markell Thomas were arrested and charged with Balbuena’s murder. Police say that they both belong to a branch of the infamous Bloods gang and are allegedly connected with a series of craigslist armed robberies using the same M.O. Roth is being charged as an adult.

Here’s how police say it went down…

Thomas allegedly jumped in the backseat of Balbuena’s car and pointed a gun at the victim’s 15-year-old son, demanding property.

Balbuena stepped out the car and was shot multiple times in the torso, allegedly by Roth, who was waiting outside the car.

UPDATE 9/13/2015: Roth was recently found not guilty while Thomas pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 26 years.

According to he L.A. Times Ryan’s attorney states that Thomas lied about Roth being his accomplice.

UPDATE 8/5/2017: Roth was sentenced to 19 years and four months in prison.

LA craigslist killing snaps city’s streak of days without a murder

Father Killed in Front of His Son While Responding to Craigslist Ad:


Rene Balbuena and his 15-year-old son were sitting in his car on the streets of Los Angeles waiting for a craigslist seller who was going to sell them a cellphone. Instead two men came up to the car and started shooting killing Balbuena and grazing his son. As of this posting the suspects were still at large.

This murder snapped a 10 day streak of 10 murder free days in Los Angeles.

I’ll post more details as they come available and since this happened in a media-centric city like L.A. maybe this will shed some much-needed light on the inherent dangers of doing business on craigslist.