July 23, 2014

Merced man convicted of attempted murder, robbery

A Merced County jury this week convicted a man, 23, on attempted murder and robbery charges in a 2013 Loughborough area shooting that injured one man.

A Merced County jury this week convicted a 23-year-old man on attempted murder and robbery charges for a 2013 Loughborough area shooting that injured one man.

Ricky Sou Saelee Jr. faces 50 years to life in state prison for the May 6, 2013, shooting of Alan Douglas Butler, 39, during a robbery in the 1700 block of Conestoga Drive in Merced.

Saelee is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 28 in Judge Marc Garcia’s courtroom, according to Deputy District Attorney Gerad Egan, the prosecutor in the case.

The jury late Tuesday also convicted Saelee of assault with a firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The charges also had enhancements attached for Saelee’s prior prison sentence, a prior strike offense and causing great bodily injury with a gun, according to Merced police Sgt. Scott Skinner. “I think it’s an excellent conviction. Mr. Saelee is a dangerous individual, and he’s one individual we will not have to worry about for a long time,” Skinner said.

The crime happened after Saelee and co-defendant Amanda Regina Barrera, 25, met about an hour before the shooting and planned to rob Butler, Egan said. Barrera is already serving five years in state prison for her role as an accomplice in the crime. She appeared in court during the trial to testify for the prosecution. Egan said the prosecution made no deal with Barrera for her testimony.

Egan said the victim was sleeping in the back of his vehicle when Barrera, whom he’d previously met, approached and asked to use his phone. The victim agreed. Barrera left and returned to the car a few hours later, asking to use the victim’s phone again, and he agreed. As she was using the victim’s phone, Saelee appeared and demanded the phone.

When the victim refused, Saelee opened the passenger door and fired two shots. The victim was shot once in the forearm, as he raised his arm to protect himself, Egan said. Barrera looked through the victim’s glove box and car, but didn’t find anything valuable. Egan said Saelee and Barrera then left with the victim’s phone.

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, she used it to call Saelee’s phone. During a search a few days after the shooting, police found a .38-caliber handgun in a black backpack in the backyard of Saelee’s home in the 1600 block of East 26th Street. A state crime lab determined the bullet in the victim’s arm was fired from the gun found in Saelee’s backpack, according to Egan.

The defense argued during trial that the victim and Barrera did not provide credible testimony, Egan said. Defense Attorney David Capron could not be reached Wednesday.

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