STOCKTON — The man charged in the fatal shooting of Tracy teenager Alfredo “Dito” Mendez III pleaded no contest to the charge of accessory to murder, but his sentencing Tuesday was moved to January.
Ricardo Fongkee Osuna, 19, of Stockton, agreed to plead no contest to the charge during a court hearing Sept. 18 in San Joaquin County Superior Court. The judge explained that the no-contest plea was the same in the judicial proceedings as a guilty plea and that the remaining charges of murder and second-degree robbery were dropped by the prosecution.
Osuna was scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, but his criminal proceedings were rescheduled along with those of his co-defendant, Santino Martinez, 16, of Stockton.
Martinez is charged with murder, attempted second-degree robbery and being armed with a firearm.
Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth DeJong said Tuesday in a telephone interview that proceedings against Martinez were on hold until Senate Bill 1391, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Sept. 30, goes into effect in January.
The law repeals the authority of the district attorney to have a minor moved from juvenile court to adult criminal jurisdiction in cases where the minor is alleged to have committed a specific serious offense, such as murder, at age 14 or 15. At the time of Mendez’s killing, Martinez was 15.
“Ricardo Osuna entered a plea on (Sept.) 18; his sentencing is continued until Jan. 7,” DeJong said. “Santino Martinez was continued to that same date in order for us to evaluate our process based on the new legislation that the governor signed.”
According to the Tracy Police Department, Mendez, 16, was found lying in the street near his home on the 1600 block of Reyes Lane after midnight Nov. 14. Investigators believe he was shot at 10:45 p.m., but the police were not called until 12:24 a.m. He died before the first responders arrived.
Detectives have said that Osuna, Martinez and two other Stockton youths were in a car together at the time of the shooting and that the shooting was planned and not a random act of violence. The victim and at least one of the defendants knew each other and had spoken before Mendez was shot and killed, the police reported.
The other two youths, ages 14 and 17, are facing criminal proceedings under the jurisdiction of the county Juvenile Hall in French Camp.
Osuna remains in San Joaquin County Jail on $1.1 million bail, and information on the three minors is not disclosed because of their age.
Osuna and Martinez are due back in court at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 7 in Department 8B of San Joaquin County Superior Court in Stockton.