MURRIETA (Wire Service) – A San Jacinto gang member who allegedly gunned down a man wrongly associated with a rival gang must stand trial for first-degree murder and other felonies, a judge ruled today, Dec. 28.
Ade Jesse Warren, 19, could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted in the Sept. 8, 2011, death of 29-year-old Fernando Villarino.
Following a three-hour preliminary hearing at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, Riverside County Superior Court Judge John Davis found there was sufficient evidence to bound Warren over for trial.
In addition to the murder count, the defendant is charged with gang activity and a special circumstance allegation of killing for the benefit of a gang, as well as sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.
Davis set a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Jan. 11 and left Warren’s bail set at $1 million. He’s being held at the Southwest Detention Center.
According to Deputy District Attorney Tim Cross, Villarino was among a group of men allegedly targeted by the defendant in the 400 block of Santa Rosa Street.
Warren and fellow members of the L Squad had mistakenly assumed that the victim and his friends were members of the rival San Ja gang and went after them, the prosecutor said.
He said that on the day of the alleged attack, witnesses reported “numerous” instances in which L Squad associates had randomly engaged in verbal altercations with Hispanic males along the corridor where the fatal shooting ultimately happened.
“There’s evidence that the rivalry between L Squad and San Ja — the first is all black, the second all Hispanic — goes back several years,” Cross told City News Service. “It’s gotten to where ethnicity is the only thing each side considers. If you’re Hispanic, you’re labeled a San Ja by the L Squad people. And if you’re African-American, the San Ja members identify you with L Squad.”
He said innocent people with no affiliations have been victimized in the gang-related violence.
Villarino was one of them, according to Cross.
The prosecutor alleged that Warren confronted the victim and at least three other men on the street after dark, pulling a handgun and opening fire without provocation, striking Villarino in the head and arm. He died at the
“I do believe this was a hate-motivated as well as a gang-motivated crime,” Cross said. “It was all because of the racial violence occurring between the two gangs.”
Warren fled the area but was immediately identified by sheriff’s investigators based on one distinct feature — a blonde streak in his hair — that all the witnesses spotted and with which anti-gang personnel were familiar, according to Cross.
For nearly eight months, the defendant eluded capture but was finally located in Rancho Cucamonga, where he was arrested without incident.
He has prior convictions from when he was a juvenile, though none of that information was publicly available.