OCEANSIDE — Two gang members accused of participating in a group brawl, during which a man was stabbed, will have to stand trial on charges relating to the melee, a San Diego Superior Court judge ruled Feb. 18.
Jesus Adrian Perez, 18, is charged with attempted murder and assault relating to the stabbing of Adam Francis around 8:30 p.m. Nov. 16, 2009, on South Weitzel in Oceanside. His co-defendant, 19-year-old Rogelio Arturo Ortiz, faces one count each of assault with a deadly weapon and vandalism, both felonies, in connection to throwing a bicycle at Francis and then at the windshield of his car.
Additionally, gang enhancements, which state that the crime was perpetrated for the benefit of a criminal street gang, are attached to each of the defendants’ charges.
Francis testified he had been stabbed twice — once in the chest, which punctured his lung, and once in the shoulder — and spent a week in the hospital.
He identified Perez as the man who stabbed him at the preliminary hearing and during a photo lineup several weeks after the attack. He couldn’t, however, identify Ortiz as the man who assaulted him with the bicycle although two other witnesses did.
If convicted, Perez faces up to 23 years in prison, while Ortiz could be sentenced to nine years behind bars. Both defendants remain in custody. Their next scheduled court hearing is a March 4 arraignment hearing at which time a trial date may be set.
Perez — who was a juvenile at the time of the attack — Ortiz and at least eight other minors and adults attacked a group of five individuals, who were predominately black, while they were visiting a friend in the neighborhood, according to evidence presented at the preliminary hearing.
Oceanside police Detective Keli Garcia testified she believed there was a racial component to the crime. She said the defendants’ particular gang, which is largely Hispanic, is “opposed of having African Americans in their neighborhood.”
In addition to the two defendants, four other suspects — two adults and two juveniles — were also arrested in connection to the case, Deputy District Attorney David Williams said.
Julio Canseco, 19, and Everado Ortega, 21, pleaded guilty to one count each of felony battery with a gang enhancement, while the minors’ cases are being handled in Juvenile Court.
Canseco and Ortega, who remain in custody, are scheduled to be sentenced in March.