Friday
April
18
2014
3:41 am
Weather
  Home
  Local News
  State / National / World
  Sports
  Opinion / Letters
  Business
  Arts / Entertainment
  Lifestyle
  Obituaries
  Calendar
  Submit Event
  Comics / Games
  Classifieds
  DJ Designers
  Archives
  Advertise With Us
  About Us
 
 
 
 

Check out our archive of Dining Guides - Yum!

Opening statements in cold case teen murder delivered
January 29, 2014, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal

Erick Morales

Erick Morales did not personally stab a 15-year-old Daly City classmate to death 12 years ago even though a childhood friend who sexually assaulted and stalked him for years claimed the Guatemalan secret police wanted the then-teenager to kill somebody or put his own family in jeopardy, a defense attorney told jurors Tuesday during opening statements in the man’s murder trial.

Instead, that friend Reynaldo Maldonado actually murdered Quetzlcoatl Alba and took a photo of Morales hunched over the body as “proof” for the alleged police gang back in Guatemala, attorney Tom Kelley said.

That photo and a locket with a different photo of Morales was found in Maldonado’s possession years later in Florida when Daly City police arrested him for the murder.

Morales, 32, is also charged with lying in wait which makes him eligible for life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

Morales and Maldonado grew up together in Guatemala with the latter, a few years older, sexually assaulting him from age 14 and stalking him, Kelley said.

When both teens ended up in Daly City, the aggressive behavior continued and Morales — 18 years old, in the country illegally and threatened by Maldonado — was eventually told by this older teen that the S2 gang, or secret police, wanted him to prove himself by committing murder, Kelley said.

Kelley’s remarks to jurors were the first public airing of Morales’ defense in Alba’s May 21, 2001, death. He and Maldonado both fled Daly City the month after the murder and Morales remained at large until 2009 when stopped by a New York state trooper on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Maldonado’s defense during his trial last year painted Morales as the actual killer but offered no reason why either defendant wanted Alba dead. Maldonado claimed an earlier consensual relationship with Morales who he said killed Alba and then called him to clean up the scene and hide evidence.

Two days after Alba’s friends found his body in the Westlake Apartments storage room which teens used as a hangout, Morales told Daly City police he only knew the victim from school and they were “barely even friends,” said prosecutor Jeff Finigan.

But between May 1, 2001, and May 20, 2001, the two exchanged 57 phone calls, including a nearly three-minute conversation the night before Alba’s death, Finigan said.

During Maldonado’s trial, Finigan told jurors that Maldonado held Alba down while Morales stabbed him repeatedly in the neck, arms and torso. Finigan was not that specific during Tuesday’s opening statements but said it took both men to kill a struggling Alba who was bigger than each of them.

Alba was last spotted by a classmate with Morales about 10 a.m. leaving the school campus. Morales didn’t return to class until about 12:45 p.m. that day, Finigan said.

After his body was found, both defendants disappeared and the case grew cold until 2007 when a Florida friend of Maldonado contacted authorities to report he had confessed the murder and shared the photo of Morales and the body. The tipster also said the murder weapon, Morales’ bloody sweatshirt and Alba’s cellphone were buried in the yard of Morales’ childhood home on Miriam Street. Police dug up a tin can containing the items and extradited Maldonado from Florida. Morales followed two years later but the two were tried separately because of legal wrangling over Maldonado’s mental ability to stand trial.

Kelley didn’t dispute much of the evidence Finigan presented, such as the cellphone records, but said it is a matter of interpretation. He also said nearly all the DNA connects back to Maldonado and that jurors will hear testimony that the buried sweatshirt did not belong to his client.

Jurors deliberated three days before convicting Maldonado of murder but rejected the special allegation of lying in wait that would have negated the possibility of parole.

Maldonado and Morales are both in custody without bail. Maldonado will be sentenced Jan. 31.

michelle@smdailyjournal.com

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102

 

 

Tags: morales, maldonado, murder, years, finigan, police,


Other stories you might enjoy:

Foster City preps for budget
San Mateo County police reports
Father imprisoned 25 years for impregnating daughter
 

 
Print this Page Print this Page  |  Bookmark and Share
<< Back
 
Return To Archives
 
  


 
 
 
Daily Journal Quick Poll
 
What does the Easter bunny do when he visits your house?

Leave baskets for the kids
Hide eggs
Leave healthy treats
Hasn't been to my house in years

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Man killed in boating accident near Redwood City identified
A man killed Wednesday evening in a boating accident near Redwood City was identified today as Yong ..
Deal reached on calming Ukraine tensions
GENEVA — Top diplomats from the United States, European Union, Russia and Ukraine reached agreemen..
Three protesters killed in attack on Ukrainian base
MARIUPOL, Ukraine — The turmoil in Ukraine dominated the European landscape Thursday, as three pro..
Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
PARIS — David Cronenberg deconstructs Hollywood, Tommy Lee Jones goes Western and reclusive New Wa..
More >>  
 
 
  
 
  
 
©2014 San Mateo Daily Journal
San Mateo County legal notices