Jury selection starts in teen murder case


Jury selection began Monday morning (April 26) in the San Mateo County Superior Court trial of a teenage murder suspect who faces life in prison if convicted of murdering another teen in 2008.

Ricardo Garcia, 19, is accused of fatally shooting 17-year-old Solomone Zarate at a party on Columbia Avenue near El Camino Real in North Fair Oaks on Sept. 13, 2008, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Mr. Garcia, who was 17 at the time of the murder but is being tried as an adult, was indicted by a criminal grand jury on May 29, 2009, and is being held without bail in San Mateo County jail.

The district attorney's office alleges that Garcia shot Zarate after the two teens got into a heated argument, Wagstaffe said.

Sheriff's deputies, responding to a report of a loud noise, found Zarate in the street suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to Stanford Hospital where he died two hours later.

Garcia allegedly fled after the shooting and hid from authorities for several days. He eventually surrendered to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office with his lawyer, Wagstaffe said.

Garcia has been charged with one count of murder with the special allegations that he used a firearm and that he committed the crime while an active gang member. The special allegations make Garcia eligible for life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted, Wagstaffe said.

Jury selection is expected to take about two weeks, and opening statements in his trial are set for May 17.


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