16-year-old accused in murder of Catherine Kennedy pleads not gu - KUSI News - San Diego, CA

16-year-old accused in murder of Catherine Kennedy pleads not guilty to murder, other charges

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Catherine Kennedy, 55 Catherine Kennedy, 55

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — A 16-year-old boy accused of being an accomplice in a gang shooting in Escondido that killed a female motorist driving home from church pleaded not guilty in Juvenile Court Monday to murder and other charges.

A decision on whether the teenager will be tried in adult court will be made at a later date, said Deputy District Attorney Laurie Hauf. A status conference was set for April 4.

On Friday, the alleged gunman, Dionicio Torrez Jr., pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder of rival gang members and shooting at an occupied vehicle in connection with the incident that claimed the life of 55-year-old Catherine Kennedy.

Torrez Jr., 24, also faces gang-related special circumstances that could lead to the death penalty.

The victim was found shortly after 9 p.m. March 7, alongside eastbound Grand Avenue near Midway Drive, suffering a gunshot wound to her head after her silver Toyota Camry crashed into a parked vehicle.

Investigators believe Kennedy was struck by a stray bullet fired by one of at least two gang members shooting at each other.

Torrez, being held without bail, will be back in court March 28 for a readiness conference.

A preliminary hearing is set for April 3.

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