Three people accused of participating in a July 2015 shooting that wounded a 14-year-old boy went on trial Friday in Fresno County Superior Court.
D’edward Tucker, 20, Jaishawn Young, 22, and a minor who was 14 at the time are accused of driving up to the victim on a southwest Fresno street and asking about his gang affiliation. A fourth person, a minor, was also in the car but is not on trial.
The juvenile defendant is alleged by the prosecution to have shot the victim in the face. The juveniles were named in court but The Bee generally doesn’t identify minors named in criminal proceedings or minor victims of crimes. Tucker and Young face gang-related charges.
Judge James M. Petrucelli is presiding over the trial.
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“There’ll be a few overall things that you’ll see come up throughout this case,” Deputy District Attorney Ryan Wells said to the jury. “One is senseless acts of gun violence. The other is how gangs in Fresno County have plagued this community.”
On July 7, 2015, around 11 p.m., the victim, who was 14 at the time, was walking near his home in southwest Fresno, near Modoc and Amador streets. He was accompanied by his younger brother and two other people.
There’ll be a few overall things that you’ll see come up throughout this case. One is senseless acts of gun violence. The other is how gangs in Fresno County have plagued this community.
Deputy District Attorney Ryan Wells
The victim testified that a light-colored sedan came to a stop in front of him. The front passenger rolled down his window and asked “Where are you from?” – a question the victim said he interpreted as meaning “What do you bang?”
“What do you bang?” means “What gang are you affiliated with?” Wells said.
The victim testified that the front passenger and a rear passenger standing out of the sunroof allegedly pointed guns at the victim. Several shots were fired and the victim ran, not immediately realizing he had been shot. Back home, he noticed he had been shot. His mother called 911.
Around nine minutes later, officers pulled over a newer-model Mercedes and arrested Young, Tucker and two minors. Officers located a revolver, semiautomatic pistol and Ruger rifle inside the car.
A casing of a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol round was found by officers at the scene, Wells said, and the juvenile defendant confessed to the shooting under questioning.
They’ve shifted to my client because he confessed, even though he wasn’t the shooter.
Defense attorney Charles Magill
Charles Magill, an attorney for the juvenile defendant, said his client confessed to the shooting only because he was a minor and he wanted to protect his adult friends from being charged.
During opening statements, attorneys for the accused said the wrong men are on trial.
While the victim testified in court that he was unsure of which person shot him, the victim and his younger brother both initially reported the shooter as having dreadlocks, said Linden Lindahl, an attorney for Young. “What we’ve got is photographs of these three defendants all with close-cropped hair and the juvenile not on trial with long, flowing dreadlocks.”
The minor with dreadlocks isn’t on trial because he took a plea deal for possession of a firearm, Magill said. “They’ve shifted to my client because he confessed, even though he wasn’t the shooter.”
The defendants were driving around that night only to search for marijuana to purchase and did not plan a gang-related assault, defense attorney Marina Pincus said.
“What you will be presented in this case is going to be fact and it’s going to be opinion,” Pincus said. “It’s going to be your job to differentiate.”