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Police say two California hiking murders connected

According to authorities, three suspects charged with killing a well-known Northern California yoga teacher are also responsible for the murder of a young Canadian woman in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The suspects, an 18-year-old woman, a 23-year-old man and a 24-year-old man, were arrested in Portland, Oregon.

Police say a passerby found the body of a 23-year-old Quebec, Canada, woman on a park trail on Oct. 4. There was evidence she died from trauma. She had been visiting San Francisco on a solo hiking trip that was supposed to end in Europe. San Francisco investigators contacted Marin County police because the woman's death shared similarities with the case of a 67-year-old male yoga teacher who was found shot to death on a hiking trail in Fairfax on Sept. 28.

Officers from San Francisco and Marin County traveled to Oregon to arrest the suspects, who are described as drifters. The suspects reportedly still had the gun used to kill the yoga teacher and were driving one of the victim's 2003 Volkswagen Jetta station wagon, which they tried to sell at a Portland soup kitchen. They also allegedly had personal belongings of the Canadian victim in their possession. All three suspects will be sent back to California to face charges of murder and robbery.

Those charged with murder in California can face severe consequences, including life in prison, if they are convicted. However, defendants may be able to help their situation by retaining a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney could examine the evidence for inaccuracies that could be used in a defendant's favor. They could also negotiate with prosecutors to reduce the penalties in exchange for a guilty plea to a lesser offense.

Source: CBS News, "2 California murders making headlines linked, cops say," Oct. 9, 2015

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