Murder defendant in Modesto shooting ordered to stand trial

local@modbee.comSeptember 10, 2013 

— A judge has ruled that a defendant must stand trial on a charge of murder in the shooting of a 32-year-old man in west Modesto.

Gilbert Navarro Jr., 27, is accused in the shooting death of Juan Gabriel Barajas.

Shortly before 11:30 p.m. June 27, 2010, officers responded to reports of shots fired in the 1600 block of Vicksburg Street, just south of Paradise Road and southwest of Marshall Park.

Police found Barajas slumped over with a gunshot wound in the driver’s seat of a car . He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Navarro’s preliminary hearing ended Friday with the judge ruling there was enough evidence for the defendant to stand trial.

Modesto police Detective Jon Evers testified that Navarro and Francisco “Frankie” Carranza Meza shot Barajas. Both men have been charged with murder, but Meza remains a fugitive.

Maricela Varela, Sarah Irene Taberna and Gloria Meza have pleaded no contest to a felony charge of being accessories in a crime by giving detectives false information about the slaying.

Taberna also pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of destroying or concealing evidence. The judge scheduled Navarro to return to court Sept. 24 for an arraignment hearing.

He remains in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail.

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