Juveniles charged with murder, crime spree

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has filed charges against five juveniles in an alleged three-day gang-related crime spree this week that included one homicide and three attempted murders in San Jose, a prosecutor said Friday.

The five teens, ranging in age from 14 to 17, are co-defendants in the murder of 20-year-old  and an attempted murder last Saturday, an attempted murder and attempted robbery on Sunday and an attempted murder on Monday, Supervising Deputy District Attorney Lance Daugherty said.

The three boys and two girls are also charged with being active participants in a criminal street gang and evading police, plus an enhancement for discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury and a gang enhancement, Daugherty said.

The defendants, all from San Jose, include Jacob Lapenias, 17; Arturo Garcia-Laredo, 14; Michael Anaya, 15; Thalia Ruiz, 16; and Jasmine Rosales, 17, according to San Jose police. If convicted, all five could be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison but would be eligible for parole after 25 years because they were juveniles at the time the crimes were committed, Daugherty said.

A panel of four senior-level deputy district attorneys, after considering the gravity of the teens’ offenses, their ages and their ability to be rehabilitated, must all vote in favor in order to charge a juvenile in adult instead of juvenile court, he said. In this case, it was “the unanimous decision by our deputies that they be charged as adults,” Daugherty said.

To charge someone as young as the 14-year-old Garcia-Laredo as an adult is not that unusual, as currently there are two other 14-year-olds being prosecuted as adults in Santa Clara County Superior Court, one charged with homicide and the other with premeditated attempted murder, he said.

On Saturday, when the defendants’ alleged crime spree began, San Jose police answered a report at 2 a.m. of a male shot in the area of South Almaden Avenue and Oak Street close to the grounds of Washington Elementary School about five blocks south of Interstate Highway 280, police said.

The victim, Luna, died later at a hospital from at least one bullet wound, according to police. At about 11 p.m. Monday, a police officer on patrol spotted a vehicle near Capitol Expressway and Story Road in East San Jose that matched the description of the vehicle believed used by suspects during the commission of Luna’s murder, police said.

But when the officer attempted to pull the vehicle over, the driver sped away, leading police and the California Highway Patrol on a chase about 30 miles north that ended on Highway 680 outside Livermore where the five suspects were arrested.

Luna was a resident of the neighborhood of South Almaden and Oak where he was shot, police spokesman Officer Albert Morales said.