San Diego jury convicts men, including Columbus native, for sailors' deaths

By The Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego jury has convicted two men of first-degree murder for the 1993 fatal shootings of two sailors, whose bodies were found near the Mexican border.

The 36-year-old men — Leopoldo Chavez and Edward Elias — were found guilty Monday for killing 20-year-old Eugene “Cliff” Ellis and 23-year-old Keith Combs. Ellis was a native of Columbus, Miss.

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis says the sailors had been at a bonfire with other Navy friends in a field in Otay Mesa the night before their bodies were found and Ellis’ new truck missing.

Prosecutors say Chavez was found driving the truck in Tijuana.

The men face life in prison without parole when they are scheduled to be sentenced May 11.