DUBLIN (KPIX 5) — The two suspects accused of stabbing a 19-year-old Tracy woman and leaving her for dead at the side of a rural road in Livermore were in court Thursday, but delayed entering their plea.

19-year-old Daniel Gross and 25-year-old Melissa Leonardo were arrested Monday afternoon, just hours after Tracy resident Lizette Cuesta died from her wounds.

A driver found Cuesta just off Tesla Road in a remote part of unincorporated Livermore. Investigators believe she was able to crawl 100 yards on her stomach before being found.


Cuesta was airlifted to Eden Valley Medical center barely alive. The Alameda County Sheriffs office says before Cuesta died, she made a dying declaration that led investigators to the suspects.

The two suspects were arraigned in court Wednesday during a tense appearance during which several members of Cuesta’s family were escorted from the courtroom after shouting at Gross and Leonardo.

One woman yelled expletives at the female suspect and screamed “You’ll get what you deserve!”


Members of Cuesta’s family were not present Thursday.

KPIX 5 spoke briefly with Leonardo’s lawyer Daniel Shirro, who said he was just assigned the case.

“She’s scared and frightening by this. This is a terrible situation for her,” said Shirro. “She doesn’t interact with the criminal justice system on a regular basis. This is new to her.”

The mothers of both suspect were present in court Thursday, but neither wanted to speak with the press.

The two suspects are scheduled be back in court to enter a plea on March 16th.


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