Two brothers, including the father of the victim's children, have been convicted in connection with the death of daycare worker Julia Vega, whose body was found in trash bags behind an abandoned house in 2018.

A jury took a little over a day to find 37-year-old Gualberto Lebron, Vega's ex, guilty of aggravated murder, burglary, aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault, witness tampering, desecrating human remains, conspiracy, and three counts of endangering the welfare of children.

His brother, Gilberto Lebron, 38, of Newark, was found guilty of desecrating human remains and other charges, for helping to destroy Vega's remains, and for covering up the crime.

On May 9, 2018, when Vega went to her apartment on a lunch break from work, Gualberto Lebron broke in and murdered her. He cleaned the apartment, carried her body out in a rug, loaded it into Vega's minivan, and drove away.

Julia Vega (Essex County Prosecutor's Office)
Julia Vega (Essex County Prosecutor's Office)

Officials say this was the culmination of a history of domestic violence. Days before the murder, Gualberto Lebron strangled and sexually assaulted Vega in her apartment while their children were present. Vega managed to escape and was chased outside, where Gualberto Lebron continued to try to harm her, until neighbors intervened.

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Gualberto Lebron fled the scene and was on the run.

Leading up to May 9, he was threatening to kill Vega if she didn't drop charges against him. Friends and authorities were encouraging Vega to move into a shelter, but she declined.

Following the murder

Gualberto Lebron (left) and Gilberto Lebron (Essex County Prosecutor's Office)
Gualberto Lebron (left) and Gilberto Lebron (Essex County Prosecutor's Office)

Vega was reported missing on the evening of May 9.

Officials say Gualberto Lebron kept Vega's body concealed as he searched for locations to hide her body.

In the process, he enlisted the help of his brother. The pair eventually stored Vega's body inside heavy-duty trash bags filled with chemicals and sealed with duct tape.

The bags were found behind an abandoned house in Irvington on June 1, 2018.

Sentencing of the brothers is scheduled for Apr. 3. Gualberto Lebron faces a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole. Gilberto Lebron faces up to 10 years behind bars.

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