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Sunday, 13 September 2009
Steven Magana, 25, and Timothy Coronado, 22, are charged with attempted murder and several enhancements tied to allegedly discharging a firearm and being members of a criminal street gang. Merced County sheriff's investigators believe the defendants and a third suspect, a 16-year-old juvenile who is being tried separately, went to the victim's Westside Boulevard residence on March 9 at 10:20 p.m. and shot him four times.The victim, who admits to being a former gang member himself, survived the incident. The identity of the victim has been withheld by the Sun-Star because of concerns about his safety.Merced County District Attorney David Sandhaus said the victim didn't identify the suspects at first because Coronado and the 16-year-old juvenile are his nephews -- and he wanted to protect them. Sandhaus said the defendants . A bullet also grazed his face. "There's no doubt in my mind it was them," he said.The victim admitted he purposefully withheld information from detectives, but later stepped forward after his son and a 4-year-old girl were shot two months later at a residence in Livingston. The man suspected that Coronado, Magana and the juvenile were responsible for that shooting, although they were never charged."I just decided to step up and say what really happened," he said.When asked about his criminal background, the victim acknowledged that he'd been in prison several times, primarily for several DUI convictions and violation of parole. The man also said he'd been a gang member in and out of prison, but has since "given his heart to God" and changed his ways.Tenenbaum told jurors during his opening statement that Magana, his client, wasn't at the scene when the 54-year-old victim was shot. He said the victim had decided to "throw in" Magana's name when he talked to detectives.Smith said there's no physical evidence linking Coronado, his client, to the crime. Smith also said it was "pitch black" outside when the shooting happened, making it impossible for the victim to see the shooters. "He didn't see who did it -- that's the bottom line," Smith said.Coronado and Magana face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted. Both men remain in custody, in lieu of $1.4 million bail.