Murder Retrial Set to Begin
Jury Selection Complete; Opening Statements Scheduled for January 31
A jury has been selected for the retrial of Ruben Mize, Bryan Medinilla, Raul Diaz, and Ricardo Nava in the 2007 stabbing death of 16-year-old Lorenzo Carachure, and opening statements will take place January 31 to give attorneys a week to sort out their schedules.
The trial is expected to last several weeks. The four are each facing a murder charge and two attempted murder charges. The prosecution has alleged that the foursome were driven to the Westside — where they found Carachure, his cousin, and a friend walking home — and attacked the trio. The other two were able to escape with non-life threatening injuries, while Carachure died from his wounds. It took police several months to make arrests in the case.
The group’s first trial last summer ended in a hung jury. After Judge Clifford Anderson declared a mistrial when prosecutor Hans Almgren refused to drop the first degree murder charge, jury members indicated they could’ve found Mize guilty of second degree murder, had they been allowed to consider it. They were still hung as to the others’ guilt.
The jury did find the four — all juveniles at the time of the attack (Mize and Medinilla are now 19 years old; Nava and Diaz are 20) — 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 Carachure murder. The gang charge carries a potential sentence of three years.
Since that trial, Nava, Medinilla, and Diaz tried to sever their cases from Mize’s, who came off as the most menacing and culpable of the three during the first trial. In addition to a taped recording obtained by an undercover informant that caught Mize admitting to being involved in the Carachure homicide, recordings of Mize’s rap music in which he fantasizes about killing people were also played. “I can’t wait till the day that I take someone’s life,” Mize sings in one song.
Mize will be sentenced to 15 years to life for the attempted murder conviction. In yet another separate 2007 attempted murder, Mize will be sentenced to 19 years in prison after pleading guilty in December. His sentencing in that case is scheduled for Monday morning, but the sentencing is expected to be continued until after the conclusion of the Carachure murder trial.