One of three men accused of gunning down a Jurupa Valley High School student in a gang-related attack pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder and other charges.
Eric “Mack” Guzman, 22, was arrested in August along with 21-year-old Adrian Miranda Alvarez and 25-year-old Juan Daniel Miranda — all of Jurupa Valley — for the 2019 slaying of 19-year-old Walter Macklin.
In addition to murder, the men are charged with a special circumstance allegation of killing for the benefit of a criminal street gang. Guzman is additionally charged with sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge David Gunn has scheduled a March 4 preliminary hearing for all three defendants at the Riverside Hall of Justice. The proceeding will determine whether there are grounds to proceed with a trial.
The trio are being held without bail — Guzman at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta, and Alvarez and Ponce at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Brosche, on the afternoon of Jan. 4, 2019, Macklin was standing in the 6000 block of Smith Avenue, near Holmes Avenue, in Jurupa Valley when the defendants allegedly confronted him and opened fire with a 12-gauge shotgun.
The exact reasons for targeting the victim were not disclosed.
The victim, who was in his senior year at Jurupa Valley High, died at the scene.
The shooters fled, and over the ensuing 18 months, Central Homicide Unit detectives garnered sufficient evidence to present a case to the District Attorney’s Office, Brosche said.
The criminal complaint did not list prior adult convictions for any of the men.
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