Crime

Jurors deadlock in trial of pair charged in 2015 Indio Killing

On their fifth day of deliberations, jurors declared themselves deadlocked today in the trial of two reputed gang members accused in the 2015 shooting death of a 19-year-old man in Indio, but the panel will return to court tomorrow to see if the stalemate can be broken.

Martin Gutierrez Jr., 24, and Enrique Villa Alvarez, 23, are charged with killing Indio resident Julio Chavez Barraza on Sept. 22, 2015.   

Jurors said Thursday they were split 10-2 on the murder charge, although it was unclear which way the panel was leaning. Jurors said they were struggling with some of the deliberation instructions.

Judge Johnnetta Anderson asked jurors to return to court Friday and submit a note outlining their concerns to see if she could provide them with assistance to help their deliberations.

The 2015 shooting was reported at 9:11 p.m. outside an apartment complex in the 83-300 block of Gemini Street, police said. Chavez Barraza was pronounced dead at the scene.

The suspects were arrested the next day, according to jail records.   

Prior to entering the courtroom, Gutierrez's attorney, Christopher DeSalva, said a note from the jurors indicated they were deadlocked on the murder charge, which both Gutierrez and Alvarez face.

Gutierrez is also charged with attempted murder and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm stemming from a separate alleged crime that occurred six weeks prior to Barraza's death. 

DeSalva said he filed a motion for these charges to be tried separately, but the request was denied.

Both are being held in lieu of $2 million bail at the Larry D. Smith Correctional facility in Banning.


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