Man pleads not guilty in July crime spree that involved slaying at Taco Bell, robberies, burglary
A Clifton man on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to 16 charges in connection with a crime spree in July that included the shooting death of 31-year-old Jorge Alberto Carrasco.
Lester Miranda-Davis, 19, is scheduled for a three-week trial starting Dec. 3, although Chief Deputy District Attorney Dan Rubinstein told the judge a plea agreement offer in the case is still on the table.
Miranda-Davis is charged with, among other counts, two separate counts of first-degree murder. The charges were filed under two separate theories of murder: the first alleging that he acted after deliberation, and the second alleging he acted with an “attitude of universal malice manifesting extreme indifference to human life,” according to court records.
Miranda-Davis, who had graduated from Central High School that spring, is accused of fatally shooting Carrasco the night of July 16, 2011, outside Taco Bell, 850 North Ave. A bystander was wounded.
Earlier that same day, Miranda-Davis and Jaime Cardenas, 19, Fidel Silva, 24, and Christian Fuentes, 20, all of East Palo Alto, Calif., committed two armed robberies and a residential burglary in Grand Junction, authorities allege.
Cardenas and Silva remain at large.
Fuentes, who authorities have said was a childhood friend of Miranda-Davis, is being held at Mesa County Jail on $1.5 million bond.
Grand Junction police have claimed the spree of July 16 was gang-related, although arrest records in the case remain filed under seal.
East Palo Alto police have alleged that Fuentes, Silva and Cardenas have ties to the Norteño gang of northern California. Police there have also said Fuentes, Cardenas and Silva were suspected of involvement in the murder of a 19-year-old woman who was shot inside her car in East Palo Alto. Cardenas and Silva were also persons of interest in the shooting death of a 26-year-old man in East Palo Alto, according to the East Palo Alto Police Department.