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A prosecutor told the jury that the man on trial for murder “almost certainly” did not stab the victim to death, but rather it was probably his companion Pedro Avalos who actually knifed the victim.

Pedro Avalos, 23, is named on the same criminal complaint and is also charged with murder, but he is not in the courtroom with the lone defendant. A jury trial began this week for Juan Alberto Rocha, 21, who was taken into custody four days after the stabbing, while Avalos remains a fugitive.

Prosecutor Geoff Allard said both men are part of an Hispanic street gang in Carlsbad, and that gang has an “ugly motive” of “ethnic cleansing.” The prosecutor alleges that when Rocha and Avalos approached some black men leaving a neighborhood bar it was part of the gang’s efforts to “drive out African Americans from the neighborhood.”

It was after 10 p.m. on a Friday night when Juan Alberto Rocha called out a gang challenge, and then his companion made a single jab to the abdomen of Devin Allen, 27, the prosecutor alleges. The wounded man was flown to Palomar Medical Center, but declared dead the same night, March 25, 2011.

Public defender Patrick McCoy said “my client admits that he was there” but Juan Rocha only made “an exchange of words” with the victim. The defense attorney told the jury, “It’s about being responsible for one’s own actions.”

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Comments

SurfPuppy619 July 24, 2012 @ 9:15 p.m.

I hope the Dorky DA has more than what is in this story.......no one is going to convict this guy because HIS friend killed someone.

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Javajoe25 July 24, 2012 @ 9:35 p.m.

The DA has to have more. How did they bring this guy to trial when "the other guy" did the stabbing? The article said this guy was also named for murder. What was the evidence for that? I think there is mojo going on. Somebody put coin in the slot and the legal merry-go-round is about to play and when the ride stops somebody is going to get off.

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 4, 2012 @ 12:57 a.m.

The DA has to have more. How did they bring this guy to trial when "the other guy" did the stabbing?

You have a preliminary hearing before a judge to see if there is probable cause for a trial, judges rubber stamp this for prosecutors, they ALWAYS find probable cause, yet the vast majority of jury trials, if it goes to a jury trial, end in either a full acquittal or conviction on lessor charges. If a case goes to trial it means the DA has a very weak case.

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SurfPuppy619 July 24, 2012 @ 11:37 p.m.

If the two guys were out looking fro a fight-together-then MAYBE the felony murder rule would come into play, but the DA would have to show the one who did not do the killing knew the one who did do the killing had a dangerous weapon, likely to cause death, and the conduct they were engaging in would likely cause death, that is a tough nut to crack if someone just yells out a gang name and spontaneously starts stabbing.....

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Chicsg July 25, 2012 @ 9:39 a.m.

I think if they accosted the black guys with the gang signs, they were asking for a brawl. I don't think it's muder but accessory sounds like a good charge to me.

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Eva Knott Aug. 3, 2012 @ 5:50 p.m.

Juan Alberto Rocha, 21, was declared guilty of second-degree murder by the jury on August 2 2012, after almost three days' deliberations. The jury also found true a special allegation that the crime was committed for benefit of a criminal street gang. Rocha is set to be sentenced by the same judge who heard the trial, Honorable Runston Maino, on August 30 at 9 a.m.

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 4, 2012 @ 12:59 a.m.

15-life-no PC 4019 good time custody credits for murder.

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