Two Roanoke siblings who were investigated in the hours after a fatal 2018 shooting have been convicted of lesser felony charges that emerged following that attack.

Twin brothers MacArthur and MacAllen Nicholas, both 24, initially were charged with possession of firearms as felons, but each has since pleaded to a reduced count of having ammunition illegally — MacArthur’s hearing came in June, and MacAllen’s was on Tuesday.

Through their agreements, both men were sentenced to two years, all suspended, plus a year of probation.

The charges against them followed a Jan. 5, 2018, shooting that claimed the life of 22-year-old Michael Cardona Santamarina and injured Troy Savion Gastelo.

Santamarina and Gastelo were ambushed with gunfire as they sat in a car outside an apartment in the 1300 block of Burks Street Southwest.

Later that day, the shooting investigation led to a search of the twins’ nearby home on Westover Avenue. Police arrested the brothers as well as Monte Deshawn Asheem Taylor, 20, and Dejon Leslie White, 23, and all four men field-tested positive that day for having gunshot residue on their hands.

Detectives found two pistols hidden in a patch of woods behind the Westover apartment, a Glock and a Luger, and a forensic firearms expert later testified that he believed the Glock fired the fatal shot and the Luger wounded Gastelo.

Also that day, an AR-15 style rifle and some ammunition were found inside the Nicholases’ apartment. They were seized from the closet of MacArthur’s room, but MacAllen later told police the weapon belonged to him, prosecutors said Tuesday. Both men had been convicted of felonies as juveniles, so it is illegal for them to have firearms.

As the investigation proceeded, the other two men, White and Taylor, were charged in the shootings.

In February, White pleaded guilty to murder and gun charges and received a life sentence, but that time will be suspended after 25 years.

Later that month, Taylor halted his four-day jury trial just before closing arguments and abruptly pleaded no contest to eight felonies including murder, attempted murder and aggravated malicious wounding.

During Taylor’s trial, his defense attorney attempted to steer culpability away from his client and toward the twins. He called a witness who claimed the Nicholas brothers had stolen the Luger from him, and another neighbor testified that on the day of the shooting the brothers had rented a car from him that was later found parked near the scene of the shooting.

Taylor’s sentencing is set for July 29.

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Neil Harvey covers state courts in Franklin County and the cities of Roanoke and Salem. Follow him on Twitter @newsharvey

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