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Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Jaime Ayala, 18, pleaded guilty to gang participation as a member of the 18th Street Gang and assault and battery by a mob

22:36 |

Jaime Ayala, 18, pleaded guilty to gang participation as a member of the 18th Street Gang and assault and battery by a mob for the Feb. 28 fight. That night several people jumped out of a white van and assaulted another group at a party at the community center. That white van was later seen by a witness near where the Bennetts were attacked and is what led investigators to link the crimes.Wearing the orange and white jump suit of the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center, Ayala pleaded guilty to the two charges. There is no agreement from the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office on sentencing, but prosecutors did agree to reduce the charge of malicious wounding to assault and battery by mob.He will face final sentencing on those charges at 9 a.m., Friday, April 23.Ayala had also been expected to plead to a series of charges stemming from a home-invasion robbery on March 27 of last year. In that case he faces two counts of robbery with a gun, two counts of using a firearm while committing a felony and two counts of abduction. That case will come back before the court Monday, Feb. 15, for scheduling.The other suspect charged in that case is scheduled to stand trial later that week.
Ayala, who was 17 at the time of all three incidents, has been charged as an adult in all three cases. He was facing first degree murder charges for the death of William Bennett, but the charge was not pursued by the commonwealth after questions were raised about whether his age had been established adequately during preliminary hearings in juvenile court.Prosecutors said while they were confident with their case, they did not want to risk any chance for appeal if Ayala was convicted. Murder charges are expected to be refilled in that case.

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