Trained fighter found guilty of killing two men

Posted at 11:50 AM, Apr 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-04 20:30:12-04

A panel of jurors handed down a verdict this morning in the 2014 Labor Day beating death of two men in Tehachapi.

Joaquin Balassa was convicted on two counts of first degree murder for the deaths of Jose Antonio Fajardo and Guy Richard Koukal.

The two were found dead in Balassa's apartment and police reports say that Balassa said that he went to sleep and when he woke up, he found the two dead.

Police reports also say a fourth person was in the apartment and said that he awoke when he heard Balassa say to one of the victims "Don't ever try to stick your tongue down my throat'. 

One of the men was found in the bathtub and the other was in the living room. 

As the trial began to wind down, Balassa said that he had lied to authorities and that he acted in self-defense. Balassa said that he woke up and found the two men, who were gay, raping him. 

Related Article: Sheriff's detectives investigating a homicide in Tehachapi, resident arrested

But Deputy District Attorney David WIlson said that the self-defense argument came too late in the trial sequence.

"He told so many lies and so many things were inconsistent," Wilson said.

"It really was disgusting, frankly, that he would try to take on the role of a victim of a sexual crime. He had multiple opportunities to say what happened, chose to lie."

Wilson also said that the unfolding of the events that night are still unclear, but the jury found that Balassa, a trained mixed martial artist, did cause the deaths of the two men.

"What we do know is Joaquin Balassa is responsible for them, and that he, to quote the pathologist, finished these two off. He murdered them in cold blood and as the jury found that's murder in the first degree."

Balassa will be sentenced on May 2nd.