Trial Begins For Man Accused In Vallejo, Santa Rosa Murders
SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — The trial of an alleged gang member charged with the separate killings of Vallejo musician Dewey Tucker and a Santa Rosa man is under way in Sonoma County Superior Court.
Raul Vega, 20, of Santa Rosa, is charged with killing Tucker, 24, on Jan. 12, 2010, and Juan Carlos Angel-Esparza, 20, on Jan. 8, 2011.
Prosecutors allege Vega killed Tucker, who he mistook for a rival gang member, in a drive-by shooting on Interstate Highway 80 near the Carquinez Bridge.
Three other Santa Rosa men were also charged with Tucker’s murder.
Christopher Mancinas, 31, was convicted of being a street gang member but was acquitted of the murder and other charges. Mancinas still faces a trial on gang-related drug and weapons possession charges in a separate case.
Hector Barragan, 30, pleaded no contest on April 25 to being an accessory to Tucker’s murder and was sentenced to three years probation.
Javier Carreon-Lopez, 21, pleaded no contest on May 1 to participating in a street gang and was sentenced to two years in state prison. He also was given credit for serving 750 days in custody.
Vega allegedly stabbed Angel-Esparza as a result of an escalating rivalry between the Angelino Heights and Varrio Sureno Locos sects of the Sureno gang, according to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.
Tucker, a bass player for hip-hop artist Lauryn Hill, was driving to band practice when was shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Vega and the other three defendants drove to Vallejo to find a rival Sureno gang member, according to testimony at Mancinas’ trial. Mancinas testified he was acting as a peace broker between the two rival sects and was no longer active in the gang.
Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Dana Simonds has been hearing motions at Vega’s trial this week and jury selection could start by Friday.
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