Murder charges dropped for one in five accused of Oceanside park gang killing
VISTA (CNS) – Murder and other charges were dismissed this week against one of five people accused of opening fire in an Oceanside park in rival gang territory, killing a 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy and wounding two other teens.
Deputy District Attorney Christine Bannon told a judge that while evidence indicates 19-year-old Brian Bodden was involved in the crimes, prosecutors were not confident that they could prove the case against him beyond a reasonable doubt.
Four others, Martin Melendrez, 23, Santo Diaz, 20, Michael Zurita, 20, and Kevin Brizuela, 18, are each charged with two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the March 13, 2013, shooting at Libby Lake Park.
Their preliminary hearing is set for July 7.
Oceanside police said the defendants fired on the victims at about 9 p.m. near a makeshift memorial for two teens who had been killed in the park. Melanie Virgen and her close friend, Edgar Sanchez, were fatally wounded and two other teens were seriously injured, including a 15-year-old boy.
According to the prosecution, the victims were all sitting near each other on a couch that had been placed near the memorial when they were fired upon.
The memorial was for Sandra Salgado, 14, and her boyfriend, 16-year-old Fernando Solano, who were gunned down in a gang assault two years earlier.