GPD arrests former defendant in gang murder case

Courtesy of the Gilroy Police Department

A suspected Norteno gang member who escaped murder charges last summer after prosecutors dropped their pursuit of a controversial legal doctrine has been arrested again – this time on warrants for carrying a concealed knife and possession of a controlled substance, police said.

Gilroy Police Department officers spotted Robert Barrios, 22, riding in the front passenger seat of a vehicle near Sixth and Railroad streets, but when officers stopped the car Barrios immediately jumped out and fled on foot, GPD Sgt. Chad Gallacinao said.

Barrios ran for roughly a block before officers caught up to him and placed him under arrest, Gallacinao said.

In addition to his warrants, Barrios also was booked on suspicion of resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer, according to the GPD.

The driver of the vehicle was not arrested.

“The traffic stop was specifically for Mr. Barrios,” Gallacinao said.

The arrest comes less than seven months after Barrios, Heather Ashford and Angel Solorzano were released from custody, nearly three years removed from the 2008 death of their friend – Larry Martinez Jr. – who was gunned down in broad daylight in Gilroy by a rival gang member, police said.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office charged the three friends with murder under the little-used and controversial “provocative act murder theory,” which allows the District Attorney’s office to charge someone with murder if they were involved in a crime that eventually led to someone’s killing. In this case, prosecutors argued that because the three attempted to confront a rival, Sureno gang member, their actions led to Martinez’s death.

Barrios, Ashford and Solorzano, however, agreed to lesser charges of conspiracy to commit an assault with a deadly weapon after prosecutors decided they couldn’t prove their actions were responsible for the death of their friend, said Deputy District Attorney Frank Carrubba, who prosecuted the case.

They were sentenced to three years in prison in July but were released because it was determined they had served their terms while in custody, Carrubba said.

The suspected gunman, Cristian Jimenez, remains in custody and is awaiting trial.

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