A trial began Thursday for a Fresno man accused of a crime spree in 2011 that left one man dead and a 70-year-old man seriously wounded.
In opening statements, prosecutor Christopher Gularte told a Fresno County Superior Court jury that Kylin Dion Smith shot 42-year-old Felipe Atilano in the head during the early hours of Oct. 2, 2011, as the victim slept in his van parked on Martin Luther King Boulevard in southwest Fresno. After the killing, Smith laughed as he went through the victim’s pockets, but left a fingerprint in the glove box, Gularte said.
Smith also is accused of firing seven shots at Isidro Madera, striking him in the arm and legs outside a market on Elm Avenue in southwest Fresno 12 days after Atilano was killed.
Smith wanted Madera’s 12-pack of soda, but Madera wouldn’t give it to him, Gularte told the jury.
In a videotaped police interview, Smith confessed to shooting Madera, who was 70 years old at the time, Gularte said.
Smith was 17 when the shootings took place. He is being tried as an adult because of the seriousness of the crimes.
In defending Smith, attorney Roberto Dulce of the Public Defender’s Office told the jury that two crafty police detectives – Andre Benson and Conrado Martin – took advantage of Smith during his videotaped interview and tricked him into “confessing to something he didn’t do.”
Dulce also pointed out that his client’s fingerprint was found inside the glove box on the passenger side. Dulce contends another person shot Atilano from the driver’s side.
If convicted, Kylin Smith, 22, faces a minimum of 50 years to life in prison.
A criminal complaint in Judge John Vogt’s courtroom charges Smith, now 21, with the murder and robbery of Atilano and the attempted murder and attempted robbery of Madera. If convicted, he faces a minimum of 50 years to life in prison.
His co-defendant, Walter Gerard King, who was also 17 at the time of the shootings, has already been tried as adult. In March 2013, he was convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Atilano, the father of five children, and attempted robbery. Jurors found him not guilty of the attempted robbery of Madera. King was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.
According to Gularte, Smith wanted to purchase marijuana to smoke, but he needed money. So he and King decided to do “licks,” which is street slang for robberies, Gularte said.
In the videotaped interviews with detectives, King blamed Smith for shooting Atilano, and Smith blamed King. King told police that they went to the apartment complex on Martin Luther King Boulevard, planning to go inside one of the units, but then found a sleeping Atilano in his van and targeted him instead.
In the shooting of Madera, Gularte said a store surveillance camera captured Smith, King and four other juveniles outside the Elm Avenue market when Madera walked out with the soda. Madera tried to walk around the group, but Smith confronted him with a gun, Gularte said.
“Give it up,” Smith ordered, according to Gularte.
When Madera wouldn’t, , one of the juveniles took a swing at the 70-year-old man, Gularte said. Madera responded by using the soda to fight off the attacker. Smith then fired seven rounds at Madera, Gularte said. The group ran off before police arrived.
In his police confession, Smith said he shot Madera to protect his friend from Madera.
Madera, now 74, plans to testify against Smith.