READING, Pa. - The man accused of killing a charter-school student in Reading has been convicted of murder.
Just after 2:30 p.m., a jury convicted Jose Reyes Diaz, 25, of first-degree murder.
Police searched long and hard for Diaz, eventually finding him hiding out in an apartment building in Rhode Island, investigators said.
Diaz was found guilty of killing, I-Lead charter school student, Ramon Rosario Evangelista outside the A-Town Cafe at N. 10th and Elm Streets in Reading back in November 2011.
The sudden death was a crushing blow for the school's vice president, Angel Figueroa.
"What was even more heartbreaking was that I was the guy that had to identify his body," said Figueroa, "and I was the guy who had to bear the pain of telling his mother."
Friends say Rosario Evangelista had recently decided to get his high school diploma and inspired others in the process.
"He was an example for his friends. A number of students that were in the school were in the school because he chose to be there," said Dr. Yamil Sanchez, CEO of I-Lead.
It's been a long journey for loved ones waiting to see Jose Reyes D?az face to face in court.
Officials say Diaz fought desperately to avoid being extradited from Rhode Island to Berks County.
In the end, a jury would have the last word, finding him guilty of first-degree murder, as well as attempted homicide and aggravated assault.
Loved ones, still grieving, call the verdict a victory, but are not exactly celebrating.
"I can't say I'm glad for anything," said Dr. Sanchez, "because it's not something to be glad about, but for the purpose of bringing some closure and making sure there's some restitution, I'm glad that justice was served."
Authorities say the trials for the co-defendants in this case are set begin next week.
Allentown, PA 18102
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