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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Eric John Estrada, who they say is an active Varrio Redlands street gang member and validated associate of the Mexican Mafia.

08:31 | ,

Fernando Gurule was approached in April 2005 in his Mentone garage by a masked gunman who was bent on retaliation.Prosecutors say that gunman was Mathew Ruben Manzano, a parolee who was released from prison three months earlier. Manzano sought a witness who testified against him four years earlier in a carjacking case, they say.
Gurule, 45, was led inside the house into the living room at gunpoint. On the couch was Raymond Holguin Jr., 22, with his 2-day-old son resting on him. Holguin's girlfriend and her mother were also in the living room."That masked man was holding a gun to Mr. Gurule's head," said Deputy District Attorney Michael McDowell, during his opening remarks Monday at a trial for 26-year-old Manzano in San Bernardino Superior Court.Gurule was seated on the couch. The gunman shot Gurule in the head, killing him, and then fired at Holguin and the baby. Holguin was struck several times in the head."Yeah! Take that!" witnesses say the shooter yelled, as he pumped rounds into Holguin.The baby, who was shot in one foot and grazed on the other, survived.
Witnesses also heard a second shooter.The defendant was shot in the back by a 9 mm round, and other similar rounds were found at the scene. Plus, a footprint found in a flower bed matches the size and pattern of shoes Manzano wore that night.
Defense lawyers say Manzano is not the shooter. They point instead to another
man, Eric John Estrada, who they say is an active Varrio Redlands street gang member and validated associate of the Mexican Mafia.
The carjacking case is not the motive for the killings in this case, Deputy Public Defender Rasheed Alexander told the jury."What is this case about? It's about betrayal," Alexander said. He alleges Estrada intentionally shot Manzano, before going into the house, for not following orders."It's about betrayal because Matt betrayed the gang. He betrayed the gang by not getting involved," Alexander said.Manzano had a job at Home Lumber, was working and being a dad for his daughter, said Alexander. The defendant was getting out of the gang, and the defense points to a Redlands police gang card that states Manzano is inactive.Prosecutors charged Manzano with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. He also faces special circumstances for killing a witness, kidnapping, and participation in a criminal street gang.If Manzano is convicted, prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.
Estrada and another man, Armando Fonseca, both 29, are also in custody in San Bernardino County, and they have been charged in the same killings of Gurule and Holguin.But both men are in a separate case and awaiting a preliminary hearing, according to court records.

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