A prosecutor said in court Wednesday that several suspects broke into an east Modesto home with the intent to assault or kill three people who were shot to death during an overnight attack.
Deputy District Attorney Marlisa Ferreira told the judge she discussed the suspects’ intent during her closing arguments to a criminal grand jury, which indicted seven men on charges of murder in the March 3, 2012, killings.
David Siebels, 16, Alyxandria Tellez, 19, and Edward Joseph Reinig, 31, were shot inside the two-story house on North McClure Road across from Creekside Golf Course.
The slayings, authorities have said, are connected to the torture of a 19-year-old woman about a month before the slayings. That woman later was the only survivor in the attack in the McClure Road home.
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In December, the criminal grand jury indicted Richard Tyrone Garcia, Armando Osegueda, Joseph Luis Jauriqui, Ricky Javier Madrigal, Robert Palomino, Juan Jose Nila and Jose Osegueda Jr. They have been charged with three counts of premeditated murder, first-degree burglary and participating in a criminal street gang.
Grand jury proceedings are held behind closed doors, and witnesses testify without the defendants or their defense attorneys present. An indictment allows prosecutors to skip the preliminary hearing phase and move straight to a trial.
At the request of the defense attorneys and the prosecutor, the judge has decided that the 1,300-page grand jury transcript will remain sealed from the public until after the demurrer hearing, when the defense has an opportunity to challenge the indictment.
The prosecutor’s statements in court Wednesday provided a glimpse at what was said to the grand jury, which indicates that investigators believe that the three people shot to death were not the victims of a burglary that went wrong and that the people inside the house were targeted.
The defense’s demurrer motion challenges aspects of the indictment, including a burglary special-circumstance allegation. The judge sustained that portion of the motion Wednesday, and the prosecutor agreed to file an amended version of the indictment.
Ferreira agreed to remove from the indictment the special-circumstance allegation that the killings were committed during a burglary of the home; however, the charge of first-degree burglary will remain. Special-circumstance allegations can lengthen a sentence if the defendants are convicted.
The defendants face other enhancements to their charges, alleging that they were members of a criminal street gang and used a gun in the crime, resulting in multiple murders. Authorities have claimed that the defendants are known Norteños.
There are other portions of the indictment that the defense attorneys need to challenge, so Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Scott Steffen scheduled the defendants to return to court Nov. 18 to resume the demurrer hearing.
The defendants remain in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Garcia, Armando Osegueda and Jauriqui.