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Friday, 19 December 2008

Carlos Silva Bernal reputed Chula Vista street gang member was ordered held over for trial in last year's shooting death

22:46 |

Reputed Chula Vista street gang member was ordered held over for trial in last year's shooting death of a 22-year-old woman in front of a Rialto home.
Carlos Silva Bernal was driven to a West Cornell Drive residence on Jan. 31, 2007, got out of a truck and waited as the victim walked toward him, Rialto police officers testified Thursday at a hearing in Fontana Superior Court. Witnesses say Stephanie Ann Lenczyk, who associated with a Rialto street gang, walked from the home toward Bernal, a man she may have had a prior relationship with, according to court testimony. Bernal pulled out a black gun, shot Lenczyk twice, got back into the truck and left. Another man who was at the home pulled the woman to the grass.
Police officers tried to get information from the woman about who shot her. "Bugsy shot me. He shot me twice," Officer Rory Scalf testified he heard Lenczyk say.
She was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, where she died. After hearing the testimony and reviewing exhibits, Judge Jon D. Ferguson ruled there was sufficient evidence to hold over Bernal for trial on one count of murder and related special enhancements. Prosecutors withdrew a second charge, being a felon in possession of a firearm, before the judge made his ruling. Bernal is scheduled to return to court Dec. 29 to be formally arraigned on the charges.
Deputy District Attorney Simon Umscheid said the court hearing went according to his expectations. "We're happy with the results," he said. Police say Lenczyk was an associate of a Rialto street gang. Detective Carl Jones testified he learned during the investigation that the two gangs were in a "pretty heated battle" with each other at the time of the shooting. The weapon used in the shooting was never recovered. Bernal's girlfriend, 24-year-old Crystal Moraga, who was with the defendant in the truck, told police Bernal had been in a prior relationship with Lenczyk, according to Jones. Bernal told police he knew the victim for about seven months but denied having had any relationship with her. He fired two rounds, he told the detective, because Lenczyk had a gun. However, police said their investigation did not reveal that the woman had a weapon. Defense lawyer Ann Cunningham questioned Jones about why police didn't have gunshot residue tests conducted on the victim.
"It never crossed my mind," Jones said. Cunningham declined to comment about the case after the hearing.

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