A judge ruled today that two 21-year-old men charged in the gang-related shooting death of a 6-year-old boy must stand trial on murder charges, according to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office. Monterey County Judge Pamela Butler decided that enough evidence was presented at a preliminary hearing for the case against Edmundo “Eddie” Pulido and Bernardo Camacho to proceed to trial, Deputy District Attorney David Rabow said.
The March 2010 death of 6-year-old Azahel Cruz, gunned down when Camacho allegedly fired and missed an intended target during a drive-by shooting, “shocked the community,” Rabow said. During the two-day preliminary hearing, evidence was introduced showing that Pulido was at the wheel of a Honda car owned by his stepfather when Camacho recommended they drive to Laurel Pocket Park in Salinas to shoot at Sureno street gang members, Rabow said. When they reached the park, Camacho fired an errant shot that traveled through a fence and struck Azahel, Rabow said.
Both Pulido, of Salinas, and Camacho, formerly of Salinas, are charged with murder with the special circumstances of committing a homicide as a gang member and during a drive-by shooting, Rabow said. Pulido faces another special circumstance charge because he is also charged with shooting and killing a 16-year-old boy in December 2010, Rabow said. The men could face the death penalty if the district attorney’s office decides to file for it, Rabow said. If prosecutors decide not to ask for the death penalty, the men each face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without the chance for parole, Rabow said.
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