General Crime

* Erick Morales Pleads Not Guilty to Alleged 2001 Fatal Stabbing

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A man charged in the fatal stabbing of a Daly City high school student in 2001 and who evaded police for eight years pleaded not guilty to murder in San Mateo County Superior Court today. Erick Morales, 28, appeared at his arraignment this morning along with his co-defendant 30-year-old Reynaldo Maldanado. Both men are charged with murder with the special circumstance of  lying in wait for the killing of 15-year-old Quetzalcoatl Alba on May 21, 2001, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. The district attorney’s office has planned to try both cases together, and the defendants are scheduled to return to court April 22 for a hearing on the prosecution’s motion to consolidate the two cases.  Morales and Maldanado, who were roommates at the time, were the last people seen with Alba that day but both denied involvement in the murder, police said. Both Morales, who was a classmate of Alba’s, and Maldanado fled the area after being interviewed by police. Maldanado was apprehended Oct. 15, 2007, in Miami, where he had been living under an assumed identity, according to police. Detectives tracked him there after executing a search warrant at the former home of Morales and Maldanado, where they found what they believed was the murder weapon and other physical evidence in the backyard. Morales, however, remained at large for two more years until he was pulled over Oct. 12, 2009, in Long Island, N.Y., on suspicion of driving under the influence, Daly City police Lt. Jay Morena said. He allegedly gave authorities a false name and it wasn’t until his fingerprints were checked that police realized he was wanted for Alba’s murder. Morales was extradited back to California later that month. Both men are being held without bail. They are both believed to have participated in the killing, but it remains unclear who inflicted the fatal stab wound, Wagstaffe said.

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