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A man accused of fatally stabbing a 16-year-old Redwood City boy for throwing a rock at a car he was in nearly three years ago was found guilty of second-degree murder Thursday, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office. Luis Villa, 20, of the Central Valley town of Lathrop, chased down and killed Matthew Johnson in a parking lot off of Franklin Street in downtown Redwood City on Jan. 3, 2009.
The confrontation occurred when Johnson and two of his friends were tossing rocks and cans at vehicles passing under the Jefferson Street railroad overcrossing at about 1 a.m., according to Deputy District Attorney Joe Cannon. Villa and three of his cousins were in a red Honda Civic that was struck by one of the projectiles, and the four men decided to chase down the boys they had seen on the overpass, Cannon said.
All three of Villa’s cousins testified for the prosecution during the two-week trial. Villa did not take the stand. Matthew Johnson was stabbed multiple times in his chest, once in his back and once in the back of the leg. His lung was punctured, and he died at Stanford University Medical Center within hours of the attack.
Villa absconded to Mexico, where he was arrested by federal agents and extradited back to San Mateo County in July.Shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday, the jury returned a verdict of guilty for the second-degree murder charge with a knife enhancement, according to the district attorney’s office. The case will return to court Tuesday, when a date will be set for Villa’s sentencing. He faces up to 32 years to life in state prison for the murder conviction. Villa remains in custody without bail.
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