Gunman opens fire, kills motorist in downtown Fresno
A 19-year-old Fresno man has been found guilty of second-degree murder and attempted robbery in the shooting death of a Clovis man who was trying to pick up a teenage prostitute.
The 12-member jury found Zachery Goodwin guilty on the felony charges along with discharging a firearm into a car during the 2016 crime in central Fresno.
Goodwin, who was 17 at the time, was one of four teenagers involved in the plot to rob Michael Der Vartanian, a 59-year-old commercial airline pilot.
Also charged in the murder and tried as adults were Eddie Nathan Martinez and April Ahjanae Amey, who were both 16 at the time. A 14-year-old was tried in juvenile court.
Detectives testified that Goodwin, Martinez and the 14-year-old approached Amey, asking for her help to rob someone. Police said Amey was working as a prostitute at the time on Belmont Avenue near Mariposa Street.
When Der Vartanian showed up in a black Mercedes, Amey walked toward the passenger side of the car while Goodwin followed several feet behind her.
Once Amey got into the car, Goodwin walked around the front of the car and up to the driver’s side door. As he was moving alongside the car, he pulled out a silver handgun, detectives said.
When Der Vartanian saw the gun, he hit the gas pedal and gunfire erupted. Bullets hit Der Vartanian in the upper torso and left shoulder. He turned onto Madison Avenue and sped west toward Fresno Street, where he clipped a car, causing that car to spin. The Mercedes then slammed into another car.
Der Vartanian was taken to Community Regional Medical Center, where he died of his injuries.
Police found the murder weapon a few blocks east on the other side of Highway 41. A state Department of Justice crime lab found Goodwin’s thumbprint on the magazine.
Goodwin will be sentenced on June 26.
Martinez pleaded no contest in 2017 to two counts of conspiring to commit a crime, burglary in the second degree and receiving stolen property. He will be sentenced on July 17. Amey pleaded no contest to attempted robbery and will be sentenced on May 14.