General Crime

* Josue Orozco was charged as an adult for murder at the age of 14 in San Mateo County

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  A 20-year-old man who was the youngest person charged as an adult for murder in San Mateo County in 2005 was sentenced today to 43 years in state prison, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. Josue Orozco was 14 years old when he was charged in connection with the July 12, 2005, fatal shooting of 21-year-old Francisco Rodriguez. Prosecutors said Orozco shot Rodriguez over a perceived disrespect between rival gangs. Orozco’s case has made headlines a number of times – from his age when he was charged, to his escape in February 2008 from the county juvenile detention facility where he was being held. He was caught in San Antonio, Texas later that year. His first trial in San Mateo County Superior Court ended in a mistrial when jurors announced they were deadlocked on Dec. 14, 2009. Of the 12 jurors, seven were leaning toward a guilty verdict. During that first trial, Orozco maintained his innocence and said another man, currently serving time for his role as the driver in the incident, was the shooter. Last year, Orozco and five other adults were accused of trying to prevent witnesses from testifying in his first trial. Orozco pleaded guilty last month to voluntary manslaughter and felony witness intimidation as part of a deal with prosecutors, but late Thursday sent Judge Lisa Novak a handwritten motion asking to withdraw his plea, Wagstaffe said. He claimed “everyone was conspiring against him,” Wagstaffe said. Novak denied the motion at this morning’s sentencing hearing, and sentenced him to the agreed 43-year term.    Orozco did not address the court at today’s hearing, but a member of Rodriguez’s family spoke, Wagstaffe said. “We’re very, very pleased that this one has finally come to a conclusion,” Wagstaffe said. He said Orozco received 2,139 days credit for time served in county jail. “That tells you how long” the case dragged on, Wagstaffe said, adding that “the public was well protected and justice was done in this one.”   
  
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