Suspect linked to a second killing in Merced

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comOctober 11, 2012 

— A 20-year-old man arrested in a September homicide has been connected to last year's fatal shooting in south Merced's Sunnyside Apartments, police said Thursday.

Lo Sin Saeturn was to be arraigned Thursday in Merced County Superior Court on one count of murder in the shooting death of Kai Saelee, 33, Sept. 9 at a residence near G Street and Childs Avenue.

However, the Merced County district attorney's office announced Thursday afternoon that it is filing another murder charge against Saeturn in connection with the slaying of Destry Woods, 20, on Aug. 4, 2011. Woods was killed in a driveway at Sunnyside Apartments in the 900 block of D Street.

Deputy District Attorney David Elgin, the prosecutor in the case, said Saeturn's arraignment hearing is now scheduled for Monday.

Police have said the suspect and Saelee were members of rival gangs. Woods wasn't a documented gang member, according to Merced Police Department Detective Chris Russell.

Russell, the lead detective in the case, said Woods may have been targeted by Saeturn because he was wearing a blue sweat shirt the night he was killed.

Blue is associated with some gangs. "We think there was some sort of argument that led to (Woods' death), and we believe there were gang motives," Russell said.

Solving such cases can be particularly challenging, Russell said, because of the fear gangs instill in the public, making it difficult for police to gets tips and develop leads.

Still, Russell said detectives "knew to a certain degree" that Saeturn was a possible suspect in Woods' slaying. "We just weren't able to piece it together until fairly recently," Russell said.

Saeturn's cousin, Sou Finn Saeturn, 23, also is being held as a suspect in the Saelee homicide case.

Both suspects remain in custody at the Merced County Jail without bail.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsunstar.com.

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