FAIRFIELD — Closing arguments are expected to be presented Friday before jury deliberation start in the murder trial of a 19-year-old who is accused of joining a friend in a botched robbery on Hayes Street on the night of Feb. 1, 2012.
Miguel “Caveman” Bastida Jr. has pleaded not guilty in the shooting death of 20-year-old Jesus “Jessie” Amaya.
Prosecutors presented jurors with recordings of Bastida telling his mother about the crime, along with damning recordings of police interrogations with Bastida and his brother, who recounted the details of the robbery and fatal shooting of Amaya. Bastida is accused of joining his friend, Mario Vasquez, in mugging Amaya as he walked along Hayes Street.
Again and again the incriminating statements include insistence that it was not Bastida who shot and killed Amaya as he tried to flee the robbery scene. Instead it was Vasquez. Prosecutors don’t really care which of the pair pulled the trigger. They believe they both set out to rob Amaya, so they are both responsible for his death.
Much of the defense case for Bastida has focused on accusing Fairfield police of coercing or forcing Bastida and his family and friends into giving false statements.
Bastida did not take the witness stand.
Police have previously said Amaya was targeted because he was a rival gang member. At a previous court hearing, police said Amaya was targeted because months earlier his brother had pointed a gun at a one of Bastida’s fellow gang members.
Prosecutors wrapped up their case by presenting the jury with notes police found on Bastida when he was arrested. The notes included praise from a top local gang leader, who anointed Bastida with his new gang nickname of Caveman.
Authorities are still looking for Vasquez, 21, who they believe may have fled to Mexico.
The trial is scheduled to resume Friday morning.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.