Attempted murder charges added to murder cases
The two teens accused in the murder of a 14-year-old Colusa boy in August had three counts of attempted murder and other felony charges added against them in Colusa County Superior Court on Wednesday.
Judge Jeffrey Thompson granted the district attorney's amended complaint over the objections of the defense attorneys.
"This changes the whole complexity of the case," said Jesse Santana, who is representing Armando G. Leon.
Mani Sidhu, appearing on behalf of attorney Christopher Carlos, also expressed his objections to the new charges, but having watched Thompson grant the previous amendment, his protest was merely noted for the record.
Carlos represents Pedro H. Herrera.
Leon, 16, and Herrera, 18, are charged in the murder of Miguel Muniz on Aug. 23.
The attorneys entered not-guilty pleas to the new charges on behalf of their clients.
Santana and Sidhu also pulled their waivers on the 60-day speedy trial rights for their clients, and the clock started ticking Wednesday. That means Leon and Herrera must be brought to trial within 60 calendar days.
Herrera remains in the Colusa County Jail on a no-bail hold. Leon is incarcerated in an unidentified juvenile facility.
The additional charges, which also include three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and a variety of gang and firearm enhancements, stem from the fact that Muniz was not alone at the time of his death, the District Attorney's Office reported.
Muniz and three others, identified as Jose H., Antonio C. and Jose R., in the amended complaint, were walking near Third and Sioc streets about 10:30 p.m. when the fatal shot rang out.
Muniz was hit in the chest and was declared dead at Colusa Regional Medical Center minutes later.
Police investigators contend that the shooting is gang-related.
The investigation quickly turned in that direction when it was discovered that Muniz had become associated with the Nortenos street gang.
Members of that gang and members of the Surenos street gang had some kind of confrontation earlier in the evening of the shooting, police said.
Leon and Herrera, investigators said, are associated with the rival Surenos.
The street gang and firearm enhancements are attached to each of the felonies in the criminal complaint.
Santana also complained that he has not received all the discovery from the District Attorney's Office as required. The judge did not address that specific issue during the hearing.
Preliminary hearings are scheduled for each suspect on Feb. 14-15.