* ARRESTED * Otto Emil Koloto And Donald Robert Lee, Stand Trial In Connection With Murder Of Philip Lacy Near Palo Alto City Hall

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UPDATE Click Here Otto Emil Koloto Of Gilroy Found Guilty Of Murdering Philip Lacy In Downtown Palo Alto July 13, 2008

A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge ruled today there is sufficient evidence to hold two men to stand trial in connection with the murder of 27-year-old Philip Lacy near Palo Alto City Hall in July 2008.Otto Emil Koloto, 23, is charged with one count of homicide and faces an enhancement for use of a firearm during the commission of a felony, district attorney’s office spokesman Nick Muyo said.Judge Douglas K. Southard today dismissed a homicide charge against Donald Robert Lee, 22. Lee now faces a lesser charge of acting as an accessory after the fact in a robbery.At the conclusion of the defendants’ two-day preliminary hearing in Santa Clara County Superior Court in Palo Alto, a June 15 arraignment date was set.Prosecutors allege that Koloto shot Lacy, a South San Francisco resident, during the course of a robbery and that Lee drove the car in which Koloto fled afterward.Lee’s charge was reduced based on defense attorney Mark Becker’s claim that there is insufficient evidence to prove Lee’s knowledge about the robbery and shooting that night.”At some point in time, my client became aware that something had happened,” Becker stated, but he argued that it was a classic case of aiding and abetting after the fact, since none of the witness testimonies indicated when and where, if at all, Koloto divulged to Lee that he had robbed and shot Lacy. Prosecutor Matt Braker presented the final witness today, Palo Alto police Detective Aaron Sunseri, who had interviewed Lee’s mother, Wendy Taylor, after the shooting.Becker objected that since Taylor died about two months ago from a drug overdose, the information presented by Sunseri would be merely hearsay. Braker, however, argued that Sunseri’s report was derived from a recorded interview that detectives had conducted with Taylor and therefore could not be deemed as hearsay. Sunseri was allowed to proceed and testified that he and another detective had spoken to an intoxicated Taylor about her son’s involvement in the events of July 12.According to Sunseri, Taylor said Lee had visited her house the morning after the shooting and told her that he and Koloto had gone to a bar in Palo Alto the night before. Taylor said Lee had told her that after they left the bar, Koloto had told him to stop the car and left for a short period of time, during which Lee said he heard a gunshot, according to Sunseri. Taylor said Lee told her he had since gotten rid of the white car he’d driven that night, according to Sunseri.Based on her discussion with Lee, Taylor also alleged that the shooting victim had tried to rob Koloto, Sunseri said.The preliminary hearing began Monday with testimony by Lacy’s friends Farmarz Maleki and Kenneth Walker, both of whom had been in the car with Lacy on the night he was shot. Koloto’s mother, Mua Huhana and Palo Alto police Sgt. Scott Wong also testified. Copyright © 2009 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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