Man gets 10 years in shooting case
A case that spawned two mistrials came to an end Tuesday in Stanislaus County Superior Court when a Modesto man and alleged Sureño gang member was sentenced to 10 years in prison for shooting at an occupied vehicle. Javier Mata, 19, pleaded guilty last week, even though he told a jury that he did not fire the bullets that blinded a Modesto woman after an altercation at a taco truck about 1:40 a.m. on
June 13, 2004. A prosecutor negotiated plea deals with three others who were in a car with Mata, but alleged that Mata was the shooter and charged him with attempted murder. Mata's first trial ended in mistrial when Judge Scott Steffen said the district attorney's office had not shared all investigative reports with the defense as required. Mata's second trial ended when the jury deadlocked, 6-6. The victim, 27-year-old Stephanie House, tried to hang herself last month. She is in a coma and is not expected to regain consciousness. Her family said she never recovered from the trauma of the shooting, which left her blind in one eye and scarred on one side of her face.
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50 YEARS AGO: The Modesto City Council voted 6-1 to grant the Masonic Cemetery Association permission to expand westward to Bodem Street. Approval followed a 115-minute public hearing. Eighteen months earlier, the council had turned down the same proposal by a 4-3 vote. The only dissenting vote was cast by Mayor Harry Marks.
-- Karen Aiello