DOWNTOWN L.A. — A pair of imprisoned gang members believed responsible for the deaths of the Juarez brothers in Santa Monica more than a decade ago will have to stand trial again, it was announced this week.
Jane Robison, a spokesperson for the D.A.’s Office, said defendants David Robles and Jessie Garcia will have to answer to the charges again, following a mistrial that was declared earlier this month.
A court date has been set for Nov. 2 in Dept. 108 at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Downtown Los Angeles.
“That’s the best news. I’m walking on clouds,” said Bill Juarez, father of Michael, 27, and Anthony Juarez, 19, who were murdered Oct. 27, 1998 in a shooting that raised alarm in Santa Monica because of the extreme nature of the crime.
“I’ve been praying that they would [ask for a new trial] and I knew in my heart that we deserved a second chance,” Juarez said Thursday from his home in Cayucos, a small town in San Luis Obispo County.
The trial could start sometime in December or January, Robison said.
Robles and Garcia, cousins and noted gang members, are alleged to have fatally shot the Juarez brothers as they were visiting their cousin’s clothing store on Lincoln Boulevard called Westside Clothing. Masked gunmen stormed into the store and fired numerous rounds from an assault rifle and a pair of handguns, according to previous reports.
The murders were believed to be in retaliation for a homicide which occurred just days before the Juarez brothers were gunned down in broad daylight. Apparently, a gang member who was attending a drug class at the CLARE Foundation on Lincoln Boulevard was shot while waiting for the bus, sources said, prompting the Culver City Boyz to retaliate against Santa Monica gang members.
The Juarez brothers were not from Santa Monica, nor affiliated with any gangs. Bill Juarez said they were interested in opening a store like Westside Clothing where they lived in Cayucos, a small town in San Luis Obispo County. They had come into Santa Monica the night before to check out their cousin’s operation and learn how file all of the proper paper work with city officials.
The men wearing masks entered the store — which was located between Pacific and Strand streets on Lincoln Boulevard — shortly before noon, opened fire and ran out. Four people were shot. Two survived, including the Juarez’ cousin, Frank Juarez, Jr.
The masked men ran out of the store and got into a car awaiting them on Lincoln Boulevard, driven by an unknown suspect. The car was discovered near LAX later that day, wiped clean.
Evidence recovered at the crime scene was processed with current DNA technology. The DNA evidence was sent to the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Forensics Services DNA Laboratory and entered into their databank of known offenders. The samples submitted were matched with Robles and Garcia.