Judge to decide if Morgan Hill resident will face trial
This afternoon, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Susan Bernardini will determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a case charging Anthony Frausto, 18, of Morgan Hill in the homicide of Gilroy resident Luis Bautista, 19, behind the Tennant Station Safeway on Sept. 30.
“The information we had based on eyewitnesses at the scene was enough for us to develop probable cause,” said Morgan Hill Police Cmdr. Joe Sampson Monday. “Also statements he made to us during interviews.”
Frausto was arrested on Oct. 2, accused of shooting Bautista. Sampson said Frausto came to the police department “to clear his name” after he heard police wanted to talk to him. He was arrested after being questioned. He has made no statement publicly, but people who have said they are his friends, but wish to remain anonymous have called The Times to say he is innocent, “taking the fall” for someone higher-up in the gang hierarchy.
“No one ever came forward to give us information to that effect,” Sampson said. “If they had, that is another track the investigation might have gone down, but that didn’t happen.”
A call to the attorney representing Frausto, Andrew Tursi, was not returned by press time.
Sampson said any new information or evidence that turns up once the case is turned over to the District Attorney’s office is the responsibility of the defense attorney and the assistant District Attorney to pursue.
“We believe we did the best investigation that we could,” he said. “It is now in the DA’s hands. It is up to them and to defense attorneys to deal with any additional information.”
At approximately 7pm on Sept. 30, witnesses said they saw Bautista, who was reportedly a member of the Sureño gang and moved from Mexico to Gilroy less than a year before the shooting, fleeing from four or five suspects. The suspects were described as being in their late teens or early 20s.
Witnesses reported hearing four shots as Bautista ran behind the Safeway grocery store in Tennant Station shopping center in Morgan Hill. After Bautista fell to the ground, the suspects fled, some in vehicles and some on foot. A witness took Bautista to Saint Louise Medical Center; he was later flown to Regional Medical Center in San Jose, where he later died from wounds to his arm, chest, abdomen and thigh.
The shooting was thought to be a retaliation for the non-fatal stabbing of two 15-year-olds; more gang incidents, including the attempted murder of two gang members in Hollister and the shooting of two teens in a shopping center parking lot in Gilroy, occurred within a week of each other, a month after the homicide.