A jury was seated today for the trial of a man accused of fatally stabbing a 16-year-old Lake Elsinore boy who came to the aid of a friend who was allegedly being assaulted by the defendant.
Fernando Moreira Aresta, 45, of Lake Elsinore could face 30 years to life in prison if convicted in the May 25, 2013, killing of Bobby Henderson.
Arresta’s son, 17-year-old Anthony Aresta, is also charged in the case but will be tried separately.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Mark Mandio swore in a jury this morning at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta for what’s expected to be about a weeklong trial.
Fernando Arresta is charged with first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon and a sentence-enhancing allegation of using a deadly weapon — in this case, a knife — to commit a felony.
According to sheriff’s investigators, the fatal stabbing occurred around 11:30 p.m. near the intersection of Garfield and Monroe streets. Deputies were called to the location to investigate an assault and found Henderson and his 18-year-old male friend suffering from stab wounds, investigators said.
Henderson was lying on the ground, unconscious, and was taken to a hospital, where he died a half-hour later, according to Sgt. Todd Torrenti. Witnesses told investigators that the teen, schooled in martial arts, was
trying to defend his friend when he was stabbed.
According to the prosecution, Arresta believed the 18-year-old had stolen from him, and the defendant and his son had been looking for the young man a couple of days, waiting for an opportunity to confront him.
Henderson and the 18-year-old, whose name was withheld, were leaving the home of a mutual friend when the confrontation occurred. Henderson was wrestling Arresta to the ground when he was fatally stabbed, prosecutors
The 18-year-old suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to Torrenti.
Deputies located a blood trail leading away from the location of the assault. Investigators spent several months on the case before submitting it to prosecutors for review, culminating in the defendants’ arrests last Aug. 22.
Arresta is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning. His son is being held at Southwest Juvenile Hall.