Trial date set in Merced robbery case

rparsons@mercedsun-star.comDecember 8, 2013 

— A March trial date was set Friday for a Merced County man charged in shooting and robbing another man earlier this year.

Ricky Sou Saelee Jr., 23, has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and robbery in connection with the May 6 shooting of a 39-year-old man in the 1700 block of Conestoga Drive in Merced.

On Friday, Merced County Superior Court Judge Marc A. Garcia scheduled Saelee for a jury trial on March 11, Merced County Deputy District Attorney Gerard Egan confirmed.

Co-defendant Amanda Regina Barrera, 25, has pleaded not guilty to charges of robbery and assault with a firearm. She is scheduled to appear today for a preliminary hearing.

The victim told police he was sleeping in the back of his vehicle when Barrera approached and asked to use his phone. The victim agreed.

She left and returned several hours later, asking to use the victim's phone again and he agreed. As she was using his phone, Saelee appeared, and asked if he also could use it, according to Merced police.

When the victim refused, Saelee opened the passenger door and shot the victim, police said. The pair fled the area with the victim's phone, police said.

The victim was taken to a Modesto hospital and later released.

Police said Barrera had the victim’s phone. Phone records showed that just prior to the shooting, Barrera used it to call Saelee’s phone. Barrera denied any involvement in the robbery.

During a search a few days after the shooting, investigators found a .38-caliber handgun in a black backpack in the backyard of Saelee’s home in the 1600 block of East 26th Street.

Saelee acknowledged the backpack was his but said the weapon belonged to a relative. He denied involvement in the shooting, but acknowledged getting a call from Barrera asking him for a handgun. He said he left the handgun outside his residence for Barrera, according to police.

Both defendants remain in custody at the Merced County Jail. Saelee’s bail is set at $800,000, and Barrera’s is listed as $250,000.

Reporter Rob Parsons can be reached at rparsons@mercedsunstar.com or (209) 385-2482.

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