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Kevin Benavides (San Pablo Police Department)

MARTINEZ -- Two men have been charged in connection with the killing of a husband and wife outside their San Pablo apartment last year while their 4-year-old daughter slept inside the unit, police said.

Edgar Carpano and Blanca Arguetta, both 30, were shot to death at the top of an outside stairwell near their apartment in the 1800 block of Powell Street in the early hours of Dec. 9.

The child was not injured and was immediately placed with Child Protective Services. She has since gone to live with relatives, San Pablo police Lt. Jeff Palmieri said.

A double killing in San Pablo is rare, and this one was even more unusual, Palmieri said.

It was shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday and a group of guys, including Pedro Garcia, 18, of Oakland, was visiting friends and drinking in a downstairs unit at the complex where Carpano and Arguetta lived. Palmieri said Carpano went outside his apartment to tell the group to quiet down and was shot by Garcia. Garcia then shot Arguetta as she went to the aid of her husband, police said.

Police said Garcia admitted to shooting both victims. San Pablo resident Kevin Benavides, 18, acted as an accomplice in the crime. Both men were charged by the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office on Monday. Benavides was charged as an accomplice after the fact because he had information about the killing and withheld it from investigators, police said.


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"A lot of our homicides are, more or less, either gang or narcotics-related or committed by someone who knows the (victim), but this one was very random," Palmieri said.

The arrests came late last month, after investigators interviewed multiple witnesses and followed up on numerous leads, eventually serving six search and arrest warrants and arresting a total of six people. Four others were arrested on unrelated crimes after police found drugs and weapons. Their names were not released.

"I'm so glad we got these guys," said Palmieri. "Our guys did an exceptional job of digging and digging and digging," because people were reluctant to talk out of fear.

Anyone with additional information about this case should call investigators at 510-215-3150 or the West Contra Costa Crime Stoppers tip line at 510-799-8255.

Reach Kristin J. Bender at kbender@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/kjbender.