SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Two teenage gang members accused in a shooting that wounded a 7-year-old girl and a 21-year-old man in Emerald Hills must stand trial on premeditated attempted murder and other charges, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Judge John Einhorn ruled after a daylong preliminary hearing that enough evidence was presented for 16-year-old Darryl Williams and 18-year-old Anthony Monta Penn -- who are both charged in adult court -- to proceed to trial Jan. 18 in San Diego Superior Court.
The defendants face life in prison if convicted in the July 9 shooting that injured Martin Barnett and Laura Castello, said Deputy District Attorney Frank Jackson.
In addition to attempted murder, Penn and Williams face charges of assault with a firearm and shooting at an inhabited dwelling, along with weapons and gang allegations.
San Diego police Officer Keith Robinson testified that a witness told him he saw two black males walking by his house on Roswell Street near 56th Street around 2 p.m. the day of the shooting. The witness told the officer the pair walked west on Roswell and shortly thereafter, shots ring out.
Barnett's mother said she was sitting in a lawn chair outside her home on Roswell when she saw two males walk by who she did not recognize.
Not long after her son left to visit his girlfriend down the street, she said she saw a man in a black shirt raise his arm and heard a gun go off.
Barnett was shot three times, twice in the shoulder and once in the arm, according to court testimony.
Another witness said he saw two men walking down the street sharing a bottle of brandy. The witness told police he thought he saw the handle of a gun in the waistband of the person dressed in black.
After the shooting, the witness identified Penn as a man he thought was carrying a 9mm weapon, SDPD Officer Bobby Johnson testified. Police believe the weapon used in the shooting was a .357-caliber Magnum. Unexpended .357-caliber rounds were found during a search of Williams' home, police said.
San Diego police Officer Jacob Resch, the lead investigator in the case, testified that Barnett told him that he saw the two assailants near the home where he was visiting his girlfriend and it looked like they were "having a bad day."
Barnett sensed trouble and tried to get some children playing in the front yard -- including Castello -- to go inside the home, police said.
No words were exchanged between the assailants and Barnett, but a friend of the victim told police that he heard some kind of gang talk and Barnett reply, "I'm not into that anymore," said SDPD Detective Sgt. Mark Bennett.
Resch testified that Williams initially denied involvement and later admitted having a firearm but said he never fired it. Williams also said he was sorry a little girl got hurt, Resch testified.
The officer said Williams told him that he feared for his life because others had threatened him and his friend.
Williams and Penn will be back in court Dec. 6 for a readiness conference. Trial was set for Jan. 18.
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