Less than a day after David Richard Cingcon was disconnected from life support, three men and a 17-year-old were charged with murder, suspected of beating him to death last week.
Cingcon's cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force injuries to his head, according to the Stanislaus County coroner's office. The Modesto resident was pronounced dead Friday at 5:40 p.m. because he had no brain activity, deputy coroner Misty Leach said, but he was kept connected to machines until about 11 p.m. Sunday while his organs were removed for donation.
The defendants had their first appearance in Stanislaus County Superior Court on Monday afternoon. Sheriff's deputies providing extra security clustered around the accused: Derrick Jermaine Thomas, 22, and David Allan Mayfield, 20, both of Modesto; Eddie Polk Jr., 19, and Kevin Resean Tubbs, 17, both of Turlock.
The district attorney's office is considering whether to file charges against a young woman who might have been involved, Assistant District Attorney Carol Shipley said. The woman has not been identified.
Tubbs, who is a minor, is being charged as an adult, Shipley said. He remains in custody in Juvenile Hall, according to court records.
The men are being held at the downtown jail on $1 million bail, according to the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department.
No one entered pleas during the court proceeding before Judge John G. Whiteside. The hearing was mostly devoted to determining which attorney would represent each defendant. There were no empty seats in the courtroom, which was full of friends and family members connected to the case.
"I didn't do nothing," Mayfield turned to shout as the defendants were escorted out during a recess.
During the break, the hallway was packed with the grieving, each group staking out different corners or benches. Most declined to comment.
A family member of Thomas and Polk, who said the men were cousins, said she was waiting to see what the investigation uncovered. She did not want to be identified for fear of harassment, she said.
"They didn't go out to kill that boy," she said. "They're not those type of boys. This was an accident. I know it doesn't help the family, but that's how it is."
She expressed concern that the other defendants had cut deals to place the blame on Thomas.
"They're trying to railroad Derrick like it was a hit. It wasn't," she said. "They made deals against Derrick to get off the hook."
On Wednesday, Cingcon, 23, and Brennen Whitten, 22, went to the Burger King parking lot near Oakdale Road and Sylvan Avenue to meet the woman who has not been named. She never showed up, but Thomas and his friends did, said Whitten, a Modesto resident.
Whitten said Thomas was angry about a comment Cingcon supposedly made that day about Thomas' ex-girlfriend. Cingcon tried to run but couldn't get away.
Police received several 911 calls from witnesses. When they arrived, Cingcon was on his back in the parking lot with severe head injuries. He was taken to Doctors Medical Center but never regained consciousness.
An employee at a nearby restaurant saw part of the fight.
"I was coming out from my break," Adrian Garcia said. "I saw the guys standing over the other guy, kicking and punching him. It lasted for a few minutes. There were about four to five pretty big guys beating up one pretty small guy. I thought he was a kid in high school because he was so small."
The defendants' next scheduled court appearance is April 2.
Bee staff writer Emilie Raguso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2235.