Four suspects who were awaiting trial for a brutal attack against two Lee Mathson Middle School students on Halloween night two years ago have pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors. The defendants pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder, a gang enhancement, and somebody using a gun during the course of the crime, according to prosecutor David Boyd.
The charges stem from a 2009 Halloween night attack against two boys, ages 12 and 13, in a parking lot at 2001 Story Road while they were trick-or-treating. The 12-year-old — named Fernando — was shot in the head, and his 13-year-old friend, David, was stabbed. Two years later, David is “very healthy,” Boyd said. Fernando, however, has permanent, physical injuries, he said. “He lost vision in one of his eyes and he has occasional headaches that we attribute to the shooting,” Boyd said.
Police believe the attack was gang-related but said there is no indication the victims had any gang involvement. The perpetrators are all believed to be members of the Sureno gang and three of the four were juveniles at the time. Erik Diaz, who is now 18, was 16 at the time; Hugo Torres aka “Sharky,” was 15 and is now 17; and Diego Gutierrez aka “Boogie,” was 16 and is now 18. All three are residents of San Jose.
Eduardo Cristobal aka “Pelon,” 21, of Milpitas, was 18 at the time. All four will be sentenced on Jan. 13. Torres will receive 30 years and eight months; Diaz faces 19 years, and Cristobal and Gutierrez will each receive 15 years. Torres pleaded guilty also to charges of assault with a firearm, a gang enhancement, and use of a gun in connection to a separate crime that occurred in January 2009, Boyd said.
If the case had gone to trial, the three teens would have faced a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.
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