MODESTO -- Six men accused in a triple homicide last year in Modesto appeared Wednesday in court, where an indictment by a criminal grand jury was unsealed and the charges were read.
Special circumstances with the charge of murder make the defendants eligible for the death penalty. Stanislaus County Deputy District Attorney Marlisa Ferreira said her office will decide in the next three weeks whether to pursue the death penalty against the men, all of whom are known Norteño gang members.
A seventh suspect who has not been arrested was named in the indictment: 20-year-old Ricky Javier Madrigal.
He, along with Robert Palomino, 43, Juan Jose Nila, 27, Armando Osegueda, 31, Jose Osegueda Jr., 36, Richard Tyrone Garcia, 31, and Joseph Luis Jauriqui, 23, are charged with three counts of premeditated murder, first-degree burglary and participating in a criminal street gang.
The charges stem from the March 3 shooting deaths of 16-year-old David Siebels, 19-year-old Alyxandria Tellez and 31-year-old Edward Joseph Reinig inside a home on McClure Road across from Creekside Golf Course.
They all face enhancements for using a firearm and committing the crime for the benefit of a street gang, and special circumstances for committing the crime during the commission of a burglary, committing more than one murder and doing so while being active participants in a criminal street gang.
The slayings, officials have said, are connected to the alleged torture of a 19-year-old woman about a month before the murders. That woman later was the sole survivor in the McClure Road home.
Garcia and Armando Osegueda have been charged in the indictment with torture, assault with a deadly weapon and false imprisonment. Garcia also is charged with spousal abuse and enhancements of inflicting great bodily injury, using a knife and a gun, and committing the crimes while out on bail.
Ferreira said the torture and related charges in the indictment will supersede previous charges in a criminal complaint filed last year shortly after the alleged incident.
Three of the men have strikes for previous crimes: Garcia for assault, Jauriqui for home-invasion robbery, and Palomino for manslaughter, attempted murder and robbery.
Because some of the defendants had not been assigned attorneys, none entered pleas Wednesday.
The defendants will return to court for their continued arraignment hearing March 7 at 1:30 p.m. in a courtroom yet to be determined. They are being held in the Stanislaus County Jail without bail.
Their indictment by a criminal grand jury means the case skips the preliminary hearing phase and moves to trial. The criminal grand jury listened to the 19-year-old survivor and 20 other witnesses testify for a week in mid-December. The arrests were made Tuesday.
Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2366. Follow her on Twitter, @ModestoBeeCrime.