Modesto apartment killings trial to start May 6

rahumada@modbee.comAugust 19, 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 Monday scheduled a trial to start May 6 for two brothers accused of murder in the deaths of two teenagers gunned down last year while standing outside a north Modesto apartment complex.

Defendants Robbie Blackwell and Nicholas Spangler pleaded not guilty and denied all enhancements to their charges during an arraignment hearing Monday morning.

Authorities say the defendants are responsible for the deaths of Rolando Luna, 15, and Andrew Ensey, 19, who were among a group of males involved in a confrontation with Blackwell outside a nearby cigarette store on the night of the shooting.

Blackwell left the store after being punched, authorities said.

The shooting happened about 9:15 p.m. Feb. 10, 2012, in the 2400 block of Vera Cruz Drive near Floyd Avenue.

The trial is expected to last about five weeks. Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Ricardo Córdova scheduled the defendants to return to court April 7 to determine whether the trial will be ready to start as scheduled.

The defendants remain in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail.

Nanci Sue Blackwell, the defendants' mother, is being held at the jail. She has been accused of preventing a witness from giving investigators information regarding the shooting.

The Modesto mother also is charged with harboring, concealing or aiding a felony suspect to avoid capture, as well as possessing methamphetamine. She is scheduled to return to court Oct. 3 for a pretrial hearing.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at or (209) 578-2394. Follow him on Twitter @ModBeeCourts.

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