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California teenager convicted of murdering taco truck owner

A California judge found a teenager guilty of murdering a taco truck owner last year

MODESTO, Calif. — A California judge on Thursday found a teenager guilty of murdering a taco truck owner last year, The Modesto Bee reported.

The boy, who was 13 at the time, approached the Modesto taco truck on February 16, 2021 and fatally shot Rafael Avila-Rodriguez in the face, Judge Rubén Villalobos said in County Superior Court on Thursday. of Stanislaus.

The defendant showed little emotion when Villalobos announced his decision, The Bee reported.

California law states that children under 14 can only be prosecuted if, at the time of the crime, “they knew of its wrongful nature”.

The newspaper reported that the judge said the defendant knew his actions were wrong and noted that he immediately fled after the shooting, hid the gun and escaped and deceived the police.

The teenager has not yet been convicted, but the jurisdiction of the juvenile court ends at 25, meaning he cannot be incarcerated in connection with the Avila-Rodriguez murder beyond that date.

“I hope you don’t spend a lifetime incarcerated,” the judge told the minor. “I hope you spend a lifetime honoring yourself, your parents and the life you took, that of Mr. Avila-Rodriguez.”

While prosecutors said the teen’s motive was robbery, the newspaper reported, the judge said he doubted it because a video showed only seven seconds from when the teen approached the truck’s control window and the moment the shot sounded.

“On the contrary, the video shows a completely senseless act of violence,” Villalobos said.

Modesto is about 150 kilometers east of San Francisco.

ABC News

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