Merced County prosecutors will ask a judge to consider allowing them to charge a 16-year-old homicide suspect as an adult, a new process established in the justice system after voters passed Proposition 57 last year.
The teen is suspected of fatally shooting 34-year-old Jose Mireles of Merced on April 28 following an argument at Mireles’ home. Witnesses told police three people fled on foot after the shooting. Mireles was found by police just outside his home on San Mateo Court with multiple gunshot wounds in the upper body.
Mireles’ three children, the oldest of whom is 6, were inside the home at the time of the shooting, but were unharmed.
The 16-year-old suspect surrendered last week at the Merced Police Department through an arrangement made by a Fresno attorney. The suspect has not been identified because he is a juvenile.
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He was later booked into Merced County Juvenile Hall on suspicion of murder.
Rob Carroll, deputy chief district attorney with the Merced County District Attorney’s Office, said prosecutors filed a motion with the court to have the teen tried as an adult. The motion was necessary after Prop. 57 passed and gave judges the authority to determine how juvenile defendants would be tried.
Carroll said the nature of the case contributed to the district attorney office’s request.
“There are some serious gang overtones to the case,” he said. “Gun violence and violent crimes are something that cannot be tolerated.”
District Attorney Larry Morse II and other Merced County law enforcement officials were a vocal opponent of Prop 57. They particularly disagreed with the way the new law determined parole for criminals convicted violent crimes and which crimes are classified as violent. Most supported giving judges the choice of trying juveniles as adults or minors in court, rather than prosecutors.
Court dates for the teenager are unknown, but the district attorney’s office expects hearings to take place soon, Carroll said.
Brianna Calix: 209-385-2477