FAIRFIELD — Jurors began deliberating the fate Friday of a 19-year-old gang member accused of joining a friend and fellow gang member in a robbery of another gang member who was fatally shot as he tried to flee the pair.
Miguel “Caveman” Bastida Jr. has pleaded not guilty in the shooting death of 20-year-old Jesus “Jessie” Amaya.
Bastida has admitted to police that he and Mario Vasquez spotted Amaya walking down the street and decided to rob him. Bastida and Vasquez had been drinking and so had Amaya. Bastida described going up to Amaya on Hayes Street and asking him for a cigarette before hitting him in the head and knocking him to the ground.
Amaya got back up and tried to flee but was shot in the back of the head. Bastida has insisted Vasquez was the shooter.
In closing arguments, Bastida’s defense attorney said the shooting may have been self-defense and that a single unfired bullet found near the crime scene was evidence Amaya had a gun. Amaya may have been caught up in a drug deal gone bad, the attorney suggested to jurors.
Prosecutor Bryan Kim reminded jurors that neighbors who heard the gunshots and who rushed to aid Amaya shortly after the shooting did not find a gun anywhere near his body.
Kim spent much of his closing argument focusing on Bastida’s history of gang activity and his past admissions to being a member of a local Fairfield gang.
Jurors ended the day without reaching verdicts and are expected to resume their deliberations Monday.
Authorities have not tracked down Vasquez.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.