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Four arrested in connection with deaths of Luis Valbuena, Jose Castillo

Houston Astros v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 29: Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros runs the bases after hitting a homerun in the 7th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 29, 2016 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)

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A horrifying turn in an already horrifying case: four people have been arrested in connection with the deaths of Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo. They died after their car hit a large rock in the road, which caused them to be ejected from the vehicle. Authorities say that the rock was not in the road on accident. From the Los Angeles Times:

Authorities said the players may have been the intended victims of criminals in Venezuela who throw rocks onto roadways to disable cars or cause crashes and then rob the vehicles’ occupants. Four suspects found with Valbuena’s and Castillo’s personal belongings were arrested by police, state governor Julio León Heredia wrote on Twitter.

If this report is true, and the accident was caused by people trying to commit a robbery, this could be charged as felony murder. Or would be in the United States. Whether Venezuela’s legal system would handle it the same is unclear, but most countries do consider deaths caused in furtherance of a felony -- especially when the means employed to carry out the felony are likely to cause serious injury or death -- to be the most serious of crimes. It could be charged as a capital offense in the United States, subject to the death penalty where applicable. Venezuela does not have the death penalty, but it would nonetheless be among the more serious crimes that could be prosecuted.

Unconscionable. Simply horrible. It’s murder.

Follow @craigcalcaterra