Plea deal possible in killing of Modesto store clerk

local@modbee.comJanuary 23, 2013 

Attorneys are negotiating a possible plea deal for one of two Merced men accused of murder in the shooting of a Modesto store clerk during an attempted robbery nearly three years ago.

Ernesto Morales Jr., 24, appeared briefly Wednesday morning in Stanislaus County Superior Court.

Matthew Yeoman, Morales' defense attorney, told the judge he is discussing the possible plea deal with Deputy District Attorney John R. Mayne, but none of the details have been made final.

Yeoman said he needed to relay to his client information about the negotiation. Judge Dawna Reeves scheduled Morales to return to court Feb. 15 for another pretrial hearing. Morales' trial remains scheduled to start March 18.

Morales and Mark Burgess, 25, have been charged with murder and attempted robbery in connection with the death of Harinder Sanghera, 28, of Ceres. The shooting occurred Dec. 4, 2009, at the Gas N Shop Market in the 800 block of South Ninth Street in Modesto.

The defendants are being prosecuted separately. Burgess is scheduled to appear in court March 1 for a pretrial hearing.

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