4 Face Trial In Highway Murder Of Vallejo Musician
VALLEJO (CBS SF) — Four alleged Sureno gang members from Santa Rosa were held over for trial this morning for the drive-by shooting of Vallejo musician Dewey Tucker last year.
Tucker, 24, who had played bass for Lauryn Hill and Bobby Brown during his career, was shot in the head as he drove his Nissan west on Interstate 80 near the Carquinez Bridge the night of Jan. 12, 2010.
The four defendants mistook him for a rival gang member, according to testimony during the four-day preliminary hearing in Sonoma County Superior Court.
Judge Arthur Wick held the defendants—Christopher Mancinas and Hector Barragan, both 29, Raul Vega, 19, and Javier Ivan Carreon-Lopez, 20 — to answer to charges of murder, conspiracy, firing into a vehicle and participating in a criminal street gang, as well as enhancements.
The defendants will re-enter pleas on July 27.
Sonoma County sheriff’s Detective Brandon Cutting testified that members of a rival faction of the Sureno gang had targeted Mancinas and Barragan for murder. Cutting said he informed the men of the threat on the afternoon of the day Tucker was killed.
The four defendants then went to a Vallejo apartment complex, where Tucker also lived, to look for the rival gang members Ramon Ochoa and Vincente Tapia, Cutting said.
California Highway Patrol violent crimes investigator William Harm testified that Vega admitted to shooting Tucker. Vega said the group stole a Honda in Vallejo before going to the apartment complex, Harm testified.
Harm said that according to Vega, when Tucker’s Nissan drove quickly out of a driveway, he and Carreon-Lopez sped after it in the Honda, thinking one of the rival gang members was driving it. Tucker was on his way to a rehearsal in the East Bay.
Vega said Carreon-Lopez was driving the Honda, and Barragan and Mancinas were riding in a separate vehicle, Harm testified.
The Honda and the Nissan were side by side on the highway when the shooting happened, and Vega told Harm that he turned sideways from the passenger seat to aim the gun at the Nissan, Harm testified.
Harm said Vega admitted that although he could not clearly see the Nissan’s driver because the car had tinted windows, he held the gun in both hands and used two fingers to pull the trigger.
Tucker’s car crashed into a guardrail and he died at the scene.
The four defendants were arrested more than a year later.
Vega also was held to answer to the stabbing murder of Juan Carlos Angel Esparza, 20, at the Kawana Elementary School near Santa Rosa on Jan. 8.
Santa Rosa police Detective Brandon Reynolds testified that Vega reluctantly admitted on Jan. 10 that he fought Angel-Esparza at the school, located south of Santa Rosa.
Vega claimed that Angel-Esparza, an alleged rival gang member from the Varrio Sureno Locos faction of the Sureno gang, confronted him about his gang affiliation, Reynolds said.
Vega said he identified himself as a member of the Angelino Heights sect, “and the fight was on,” Reynolds said.
Vega claimed Angel-Esparza drew two knives during the fistfight, Reynolds testified. Vega said that during a struggle for one knife, the blade broke off, Reynolds testified.
The blade was found near Angel-Esparza’s body, and the other knife was found on a rooftop at the school, Reynolds said.
Angel-Esparza was found in an outdoor hallway with a stab wound to the upper left side of his chest and two to his abdomen. He died at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.
Reynolds said Vega told him he was defending himself and that he burned his clothing in his back yard after the fight.
A man who lived a block from Vega identified Vega as the person fighting with Angel-Esparza, Santa Rosa police Detective Andrew Riley testified.
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