MODESTO — The case against seven men accused in the murder of three people progressed Thursday with an announcement that the district attorney will seek the death penalty against three defendants.
But the lives of surviving family members of the victims seem to be on hold as they await the trial. They say they're unable to live through a day without fear, anger and grief.
Five relatives of 16-year-old David Siebels, 19-year-old Alyxandria Tellez and 31-year-old Edward Joseph Reinig spoke Thursday, most for the first time, about what they have endured since March 3, 2012, when the three were shot to death while asleep in a southeast Modesto home.
The Bee is withholding the names of the family members because they are in witness protection or generally afraid for their lives because of the defendants' alleged connection to gangs.
The 19-year-old woman who was the only survivor of the March 3 attack said she had been waiting for the day her testimony in a criminal grand jury would lead to the indictment of the seven defendants. But when that day came, she didn't experience the relief she had hoped for.
Nor did the relief come with the announcement Thursday that her ex-boyfriend, Richard Tyrone Garcia, and his friend Armando Osegueda will face the death penalty along with a third defendant, Joseph Luis Jauriqui. Garcia and Osegueda are accused of severely beating and torturing her a month before the slayings,
"Yeah, it's been a day my family has been waiting for, but we will never have our brother (Siebels) back," she said. "My little brother is always going to be 16."
For everyone's safety, she is separated from her 25-year-old sister and her sister's fiancé, who is Reinig's brother.
Time with what remains of her family is precious, she said, but "something is missing because we are not happy anymore."
They all have a difficult time picturing their future seeing the defendants for the first time in court, thinking of what they would say to them during sentencing, and carrying on after the trial is over.
"I pray every day that I can face these men," Reinig's mother said.
Siebels' 19-year-old sister finds it best to live day to day to avoid becoming overwhelmed by anxiety.
"My future scares me," she said. "Am I going to have a normal life and a family someday? Is someone going to be there for me when I am crying every night and angry?"
Their eldest sister doubts normalcy ever will return to their lives, and her fiancé worries they never again will find a home in which they feel safe.
In the past year, a night hasn't passed that Reinig's oldest brother doesn't wake up before 4 a.m., the moment he got the phone call that his brother had been shot.
He keeps a candy tin by his bed shaped like the extra-life mushroom from the Mario Brothers video game, which he used to play with Reinig when they were children.
"I tell myself, 'You have a life to live, I have an extra life today,' " he said. "I will eat a piece of candy and remind myself that Edward wouldn't want me laying in bed crying."
Reinig was a whiz with computers, the champion of all video games and extremely bright, his family said. He had a passion for Japanese culture and even taught himself the language.
He had proposed to Tellez the week before they were killed and intended to announce their engagement at a family dinner planned for the next day.
Tellez was remembered as kind and bubbly, and a talented artist. Reinig's mother said she called her "tippee-toes" because she would walk around on her toes, which she said was her way of exercising her calves.
Siebels was kind and always eager to please. He worked hard in school and wanted to play football professionally.
"The three victims were good, innocent, kind, loving people," Reinig's brother said. "There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of them."