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November 20, 2013

Defense attorneys will challenge ruling in Modesto fatal stabbing

Defense attorneys will challenge a judge’s ruling, which ordered three defendants to stand trial in connection with the stabbing of a teenager killed during a botched robbery at an east Modesto park.

Defense attorneys will challenge a judge’s ruling that ordered three defendants to stand trial in connection with the stabbing of a teenager killed during a botched robbery at an east Modesto park.

Taylor Koplen, 18, Jacob Segura, 19, and Juan Garcia, 16, are charged with murder in the death of 18-year-old Tylor Crippen. They also face charges of robbery and two counts of attempted robbery, along with enhancements of committing the crimes for the benefit of the Norteño street gang.

The defendants were arraigned Wednesday morning; they pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied the alleged enhancements.

After hearing testimony and arguments in a preliminary hearing in August, Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Dawna Reeves determined there was sufficient evidence for the defendants to stand trial.

On Wednesday, Mark Sullivan, Segura’s attorney, told the judge that he will file a motion to overturn her ruling. The defense attorneys plan to schedule a hearing for that motion with another judge sometime in mid-January.

If the court denies the defense motion, Judge Reeves has scheduled the defendants to return to her courtroom Jan. 28 to schedule their trial. The defendants remain in custody.

Before the arraignment Wednesday morning, the judge denied a defense motion challenging the charges filed against the defendants.

Sullivan argued that charges were not sufficiently specific; it’s unclear whether prosecutors believe his client is an abettor or the person who stabbed Crippen. He said the preliminary hearing transcript indicates his client did not stab Crippen.

Deputy District Attorney Marlisa Ferreira argued that the criminal charges are sufficiently detailed to notify the defendants what allegations they will face at trial. She said the testimony in the preliminary hearing clearly indicates that Segura and Garcia chased Crippen in the park where Koplen stabbed the victim.

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