A judge on Friday confirmed that a trial will start Jan. 28 for the remaining defendant in the shooting of a 20-year-old Modesto man killed in the middle of a busy Ceres intersection, but there's still a chance for a plea deal.
Primitivo Guizar, 20, is accused of murder in the drive-by shooting of Amadeo Avalos in broad daylight Jan. 11, 2010. Avalos was shot while driving a red pickup near East Whitmore Avenue and Morgan Road.
The defendant remains in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail. Superior Court Judge Scott Steffen scheduled Guizar to return to court Jan. 18 for a pretrial hearing.
Discussions of a possible plea deal for Guizar continue between defense attorney Robert Chase and Deputy District Attorney Jared Carrillo.
The district attorney's office has approved plea deals for two other defendants who also were ordered to stand trial charged with Avalos' murder. Enrique Alonso Valadez and Lucila Sanchez, Guizar's sister, have pleaded no contest to one count each of voluntary manslaughter.
Authorities have said the shooting was revenge for the victim's sister, Patricia Avalos, robbing Guizar's relatives of cash and jewelry. Two days after the robbery, authorities have said, relatives of the robbery victims took the law into their own hands.
Attorneys have agreed Guizar was the shooter and Valadez drove the car.
In the preliminary hearing, the prosecutor argued that Sanchez spotted the pickup on East Whitmore Avenue and informed her brother it was heading his way. Carrillo said Guizar then shot Amadeo Avalos to instill fear.
Chase has argued the brazen home-invasion robbery provoked his client into irrationally responding with violence. Patricia Avalos, who sparked the dispute between the families, since has been convicted of home-invasion robbery and first-degree burglary.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2394.