Prosecutors in the district attorney’s office will have to decide whether to once again pursue murder charges against four defendants, after a jury was deadlocked and a judge declared a mistrial following a several weeks-long trial. The jury couldn’t unanimously agree to convict Ruben Mize, Raul Diaz, Bryan Medinilla, and Ricardo Nava of murder or two attempted-murder charges stemming from the death of 16-year-old Lorenzo Carachure on San Pascual Street in July 2007.
The jury did find the four — all juveniles at the time of the attack — guilty of being active members of a criminal street gang, the Eastside, and also found Mize guilty of attempted murder for an attack that took place several months after the murder. The gang charge carries a potential sentence of three years, while Mize is facing 15 years to life for the attempted murder.
Prosecutor Hans Almgren had the opportunity to dismiss the first-degree murder charge so that the jury could consider second-degree murder, but he declined, instead opting for a mistrial. Following the mistrial declaration, jurors indicated they were willing to convict Mize on second-degree murder, but couldn’t find enough evidence to unanimously get him for first-degree murder. They weren’t convinced that Mize had premeditated and deliberately committed the murder. Jurors could’ve convicted the others as aiders and abettors to Mize, who is alleged to be the most culpable, and admitted during a secretly recorded conversation to being involved. Evidence pointed to the other three being at the scene of the attack, but witnesses had a hard time making their involvement clear.
The matter will be back in court August 13.