A 21-year-old man accused of gunning down a 17-year-old boy in Cathedral City must stand trial on a murder charge, a judge ruled Friday.
Juan Landeros-Garcia was arrested April 6, two days after fellow Cathedral City resident Isaiah Guerra was found suffering from at least 11 gunshot wounds inside a crashed car.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Otis Sterling found that prosecutors presented sufficient evidence to hold Landeros-Garcia to proceed to trial on a murder charge and a sentence-enhancing allegation of discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury.
Sterling scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Sept. 14. The defendant remains jailed at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta in lieu of $1 million bail.
According to the Cathedral City Police Department, police found Guerra slumped over the steeling wheel of his car, which had crashed into two palm trees at the intersection of Avenida Alvera and McCallum Way about 7:45 p.m. on April 4.
During the defendant’s preliminary hearing, Officer Alberto Felix testified that he administered CPR and other life-saving measures, but paramedics pronounced Guerra dead at the scene.
According to Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Steven Sorensen, outdoor surveillance footage from several homes in the area helped Cathedral City detectives piece together what happened that night, resulting in the arrest of Landeros-Garcia less than a mile away from the shooting scene on Modalo Road.
A motive for the shooting remains unclear.
Landeros-Garcia has no documented felony criminal convictions in Riverside County, although he has one unresolved felony attempted robbery case pending in Riverside County Superior Court, which includes a misdemeanor resisting arrest charge.
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