Gilroy gang murder trial set for June

Men and women allegedly linked to the death of Larry Martinez

The trial of four people arrested for the 2008 killing of an
18-year-old man in Gilroy could come as early as next month,
according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
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The trial of four people arrested for the 2008 killing of an 18-year-old man in Gilroy could come as early as next month, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

Cristian Jimenez, Robert Barrios, Heather Ashford and Angel Solorzano have been charged in the murder of Larry Martinez, who was shot and killed Nov. 11, 2008 by a rival gang near Church and Sixth streets, according to police.

Jimenez, 23, an alleged Sureno gang member, was charged with Martinez’s death, while Barrios, 22, Ashford, 20, and Solorzano, 21, will stand trial for murder and conspiracy charges even though they didn’t fire the gun that killed their cousin and friend, prosecutors said.

Deputy District Attorney Dolores Carr charged the three under the rarely invoked provocative act murder theory for contributing to Martinez’s death for the benefit of a criminal street gang.

Jimenez also faces a felony gun possession charge, according to court documents.

The four were arrested June 8, 2009.

Their trial is set for 8:30 a.m. Monday, June 13 in Dept. 24 at the Hall of Justice in San Jose. The defendants face potential life sentences if convicted.

A trial readiness hearing will take place Wednesday, when attorneys from both sides will determine whether they are ready to proceed with the proposed trial date, said Amy Cornell, spokeswoman for district attorney’s office.

Roughly 30 minutes before the shooting, Jimenez and two other alleged Surenos who are still at large – Edgardo Centeno, 21, and an unnamed juvenile – threw a rock at a car Martinez and Solorzano were riding in while Ashford drove, according to police.

Ashford, Martinez and Solorzano later picked up Barrios and returned to confront the rival gang members, armed with a small wooden bat. Prosecutors said Martinez and his friends then snuck up on the Surenos from behind, causing them to turn and shoot.

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