As a part of a string of violent crimes carried out primarily within the South Bay in April 2018, a person shot a younger girl a number of occasions, leaving her paralyzed, a prosecutor alleged Monday.
In the meantime, a protection lawyer claimed that her consumer was being accused of crimes dedicated by others.
Opening statements and testimony have been delivered Monday within the trial of Michael Pedraza, 33, who’s charged with homicide, tried homicide and kidnapping for his alleged position in two shootings, a stabbing, and the kidnapping and assault of a person, all of which occurred over the course of some days in April of 2018.
Pedraza and his co-defendants allegedly took half within the deadly capturing of a person they believed was a police officer surveilling them in Chula Vista, kidnapping and beating a person they believed stole Pedraza’s pockets and stabbing one other man at El Toyon Park in Nationwide Metropolis.
Simply earlier than these crimes obtained underway, the defendants allegedly kidnapped a 19-year-old girl, then robbed and assaulted her earlier than taking her to Sundown Cliffs, the place prosecutors allege Pedraza shot her and left her for lifeless.
Pedraza faces life in jail with out the potential of parole if convicted of all counts.
Cesar Alvarado, 43, and Britney Canal, 34, have been sentenced in 2022 to state jail for the killing of Mario Serhan, who the defendants mistakenly believed was an undercover police officer surveilling them in Chula Vista. Additionally they pleaded responsible to the tried homicide of a lady who prosecutors mentioned was kidnapped, then shot a number of occasions at Sundown Cliffs.
Earlier, one other co-defendant, 33-year-old Francisco Aranda, pleaded responsible to different costs and was sentenced 5 years in state jail.
The lady, now 24 years previous, testified Monday that her ordeal started when she met up with a pal with plans to promote medicine.
On the meet-up, Alvarado and Canal have been additionally there and accused her of stealing from her pal. The pair robbed her of the medicine and her purse, she mentioned.
Just a few days later, Pedraza, who she was beforehand acquainted with, reached out to her.
He mentioned he had been chased by police and needed to ditch a backpack stuffed with medicine and a firearm close to a resort in Chula Vista.
Pedraza requested her to retrieve the backpack, however when she went to the resort, no backpack might be discovered. Pedraza later arrived with Alvarado and Canal, and the trio started accusing her of stealing the backpack, she testified.
The defendants then took her into an SUV, the place Canal repeatedly shocked her with a stun gun, the girl mentioned. The trio demanded she get them cash to make up for the lacking backpack and over the course of the subsequent day, the girl was pushed throughout south San Diego County whereas the defendants sought alternative ways to extract cash from her.
Deputy District Legal professional David Grapilon informed jurors that at round midday on April 11, the defendants noticed an SUV parked behind them in a Chula Vista residential neighborhood.
The prosecutor mentioned the defendants started “freaking out” and concluded the SUV’s driver have to be a police officer.
However the driver, 59-year-old Mario Serhan, was not a police officer, however reasonably the proprietor of an electronics enterprise who was merely within the flawed place on the flawed time, Grapilon mentioned.
The defendants tailed Serhan all through Chula Vista, pulled alongside him on Industrial Boulevard, and Alvarado shot Serhan within the head, killing him, based on the prosecutor.
The defendants continued to take the girl to a number of different areas that day, earlier than finally accusing her of stealing from them and “snitching” to police on a previous event.
Grapilon mentioned that simply after 2 a.m. April 12, the defendants took the girl to Sundown Cliffs and compelled her at gunpoint to stroll down a staircase main right down to the ocean.
As she begged for her life, Grapilon mentioned Pedraza informed her, “Shut the (expletive) up. Die with some dignity.” He then allegedly shot her within the ear, the neck and the leg.
Following the capturing, Pedraza and his co-defendants allegedly kidnapped a person from a San Ysidro motel, beat him, accused him of stealing Pedraza’s pockets, and threatened to take him to Tijuana and kill him.
Just a few hours after that, prosecutors say the defendants obtained into an altercation with a person at El Toyon Park, which resulted in Pedraza stabbing the person within the leg.
The defendants have been later arrested following a police pursuit that stretched from San Ysidro to Alvarado’s dwelling in Nationwide Metropolis.
Alvarado and Canal pleaded responsible final 12 months to costs that embody homicide and tried homicide. Alvarado was sentenced to life in jail with out the potential of parole and Canal was sentenced to 30 years to life in state jail.
Pedraza’s protection lawyer Jill Cremeans argued there was no proof exhibiting Pedraza had any involvement in Serhan’s killing or the Sundown Cliffs capturing.
The lawyer mentioned Pedraza was merely driving within the automotive when Alvarado killed Serhan.
Cremeans additionally alleged the girl shot at Sundown Cliffs was a drug addict on the time and her recollections of the incident have been probably affected by medicine and shock.
The protection lawyer mentioned that since 2018, the girl has modified her story a number of occasions. In an earlier model of the occasions, the girl mentioned she was shot behind the pinnacle, which means she couldn’t have been capable of see the shooter, Cremeans mentioned.
She urged jurors to scrutinize the girl’s credibility and think about “whether or not or not my consumer must be held criminally chargeable for the actions of different individuals.”