Recent slaying stirs memories of 2008 juvenile killing
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The recent shooting in Colusa has sparked some memories of another juvenile death with gang undertones in Williams.
In August 2008, a 13-year-old boy fatally stabbed a 12-year-old boy — possibly with a pen, but just as likely a knife or something similar, news reports state.
Williams Police Chief Jim Saso said the two cases are very different, except for one critical point.
"I think the only (memory it) brings back is that we had a juvenile senselessly killed," Saso said. "I think they are two different cases that cannot be compared."
The current case involves a 16-year-old suspect in the shooting death of a 14-year-old on Aug. 23.
Armando G. Leon has been charged as an adult on a count of murder with malice. He was arraigned on Thursday.
Police say the killing of Miguel Muniz definitely has gang overtones.
The Williams case never left juvenile court, and was tried in Sutter County because the accused's parents moved there.
As the case developed, there were definite gang implications, but ultimately, an appellate court disagreed.
"It was presented," Saso recalls, "but the judge over there decided there wasn't enough evidence."
The teen in the Williams case was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 11 years in a state juvenile facility.
The 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled in early 2010 that there was no evidence to link the boy to a street gang.
However, the court denied his request to be released into the custody of his parents.
Leon, if convicted, faces a possible sentence of 15 years to life in state prison.
Saso said there is one other similarity between the two cases, and that is the fight against such crimes is not done.
"From a law enforcement perspective, we have to keep fighting and trying with the limited resources we have," Saso said.
Williams has placed an experienced officer on the school campuses in hopes of reaching some of the at-risk students before they choose a gang.
Colusa is headed in that direction once it completes the hiring process of a grant-funded position. However, because of military service requirements attached to the application, recruiting has been more difficult.
Additionally, Colusa County Superintendent Kay Spurgeon has headed a countywide effort to educate and provide support in preventing children from joining gangs.