DA asks to move 'Angel and Jazy' murder case to adult court
The defense said it learned about the DA's motion for the first time Tuesday in open court.
The Alameda County district attorney's office is seeking to transfer a murder case involving the killing of two teen brothers from Berkeley from the juvenile system to adult court, The Scanner learned Tuesday.
Brothers Angel and Jazy Sotelo Garcia were killed at a birthday party for a fellow Berkeley High student in October when multiple people who showed up late to the event opened fire.
Two of the boys' friends, both teenagers from Berkeley High School, were also wounded in the shooting.
Police say the Sotelo Garcia brothers were not the intended targets.
The boys were beloved in Berkeley and the broader East Bay community where they played soccer.
The alleged killer was 17 at the time of the fatal shootings but turned 18 about six weeks later.
Authorities say he has confessed to the murders and has been linked to other violent crimes.
(The Berkeley Scanner is not publishing his name at this time out of respect for the juvenile court process.)
At Tuesday's hearing before Alameda County Superior Court Judge Lupe Garcia, the young man's attorney announced that he was prepared to admit to all seven counts that have been filed against him: two counts of murder, two counts of first-degree attempted murder, two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and one count of robbery while armed with a firearm.
But the prosecutor quickly informed the court that the DA's office has asked to move the case from juvenile to adult court, which would preclude the young man from making any such admissions.
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The judge initially said she was inclined to ask the probation department to prepare a transfer hearing report that would be heard in 60 days.
But the defense objected, saying it had not been aware of the DA's motion until open court Tuesday because it had never been served with the paperwork.
Court staff confirmed that it could find no proof of service in the available records.
After speaking privately with the defense and prosecution for several minutes, Judge Garcia said she would wait to decide on a transfer hearing date until the next court appearance, which she set for early May.
Jazy and Angel's mother, María De Los Angeles Garcia Galavis, and aunt Erika Galavis attended Tuesday afternoon's hearing.
Afterward, they told The Berkeley Scanner that they hope the case does move into the adult system.
The hearing hadn't been easy, the sisters said: It was their first time seeing the accused killer and being in the same room with him.
Still, after waiting so long for charges to be filed — it had taken six months — Tuesday's brief hearing felt like some amount of progress, Erika Galavis said.
"It was the first step of us getting justice," she said.
The murder case is still considered an ongoing investigation. Police ask anyone with information about it to call the OPD Homicide Section at 510-238-3821.
Read more about Jazy and Angel in past coverage on The Berkeley Scanner.