Preliminary hearing set for three teens charged in Modesto stabbing

rahumada@modbee.comApril 25, 2013 

    Rosalio Ahumada
    Title: Courts reporter
    Coverage areas: Criminal cases, breaking news
    Bio: Rosalio Ahumada has been a reporter at The Bee for more than seven years, previously covering crime and public safety issues. He also has worked at the Merced Sun-Star, covering education.
    Recent stories written by Rosalio
    On Twitter: @ModBeeCourts

— A judge on Thursday scheduled a preliminary hearing to start in June for three teenagers charged with murder in the stabbing of another teenager during a botched robbery three months ago at an east Modesto park.

Taylor Koplen, 18, Jacob Segura, 18, and Juan Garcia, 16, are accused of trying to steal a cell phone from 18-year-old Tylor Crippen, who was walking with his girlfriend in Creekwood Park on Jan. 29 when he was attacked. Crippen was stabbed to death as he was trying to escape through the park.

Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Dawna Reeves scheduled the defendants to return to court June 18-19 for their preliminary hearing.

The defendants remain in custody. Garcia and Koplen, who were minors when the stabbing occurred, are being prosecuted as adults.

They face charges of first-degree murder, robbery and two counts of attempted robbery, along with enhancements for allegedly committing the crimes for the benefit of the Norteño street gang.

They have pleaded not guilty and denied the enhancements.

The prosecutor has said in court that the defendants robbed another victim shortly before Crippen was attacked. She said they believe the defendants stole a pocket knife from the other victim and later used the knife to kill Crippen.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at or (209) 578-2394.

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