Fatal Fourth of July

Holiday Stabbing Case Heads Toward Trial

Judge Frank Ochoa, after denying their motion to dismiss murder charges against them, told four young men accused of killing 15-year-old Emmanuel Roldan in an alleged gang-related incident near Stearns Wharf on July 4, 2008, that the holiday was a day that “ties us all together as a people.” “The fact that you live on a different block doesn’t make any difference,” he said, adding he was “greatly disappointed” that Chicano youth were out to do damage to one another.

While the case will now head toward trial, defense attorney Michael Carty argued that there was no evidence his client, Victor Arroyo, 17, or any of the other three stabbed the victim, a fellow Westsider. Arroyo is alleged to have been the likely stabber, though Carty said the stabber is not known and there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue a conspiracy.

Prosecutor Kim Smith argued that evidence showed the four had been at a party at the home of Miguel Marquez, where a group spoke of enacting revenge for the deaths of two Westsiders, and, arming themselves with knives and weapons, set out to fight Eastsiders. Homicide, she said, was a natural and probable consequence of their actions.

Marquez, 21 at the time, and Arroyo, along with Daniel Cervantes and the victim’s older brother David Roldan — both minors at the time of the incident — have all been charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and street terrorism. The death of Roldan was the third stabbing homicide of a Westsider in a 15-month span.

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