Murder charges dropped in drive-by shooting case | News | Palo Alto Online |

News

Murder charges dropped in drive-by shooting case

Case against East Palo Alto man dropped because of lack of evidence

The case of East Palo Alto resident Eric Barragan, who had been in San Mateo County jail for more than 10 months on charges of attempted murder in Menlo Park, has been dropped for a lack of evidence, according to prosecutors with the District Attorney's Office.

In charging Barragan, 23, over a series of drive-by shootings in East Palo Alto and the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park in October 2013, prosecutors were relying on the testimony of a witness who changed his story when the case finally got before a judge at a preliminary hearing on Sept. 10, Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti said.

"We decided not to pursue a case (without) a credible witness," Guidotti said.

Chris Morales, Barragan's defense attorney, said he cross-examined the witness at the preliminary hearing.

"The case relied on testimony of a witness that was very untruthful," he said. "He compromised his own integrity on the stand."

In November 2014, in connection with four recent drive-by shootings, Menlo Park police made three arrests: Barragan and two youths. Barragan was allegedly driving the vehicle from which the shootings occurred, prosecutors said.

As the case went forward over the 10 months that Barragan was in jail on a bail of $3.5 million, several preliminary hearings had been scheduled, but most were continued to a later date, which added delays, Guidotti said.

Asked about the outcome of this case and Barragan's stay in jail only to have the case dropped, Guidotti said prosecutors "reacted fairly swiftly" once they reached a decision not to prosecute.

"It's unfortunate, but I think relying upon what we were relying upon, we had reason to charge him with a crime," she said.

Barragan's record will continue to note his arrest in this case, but "he's going to learn from this and move on with his life and get his education," Morales said. "He's a very bright person. ... He'll make some new friends, possibly relocate to a new area and get a fresh start."

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by xdm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 7, 2015 at 7:40 am

[Post removed.]


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

Pluto's appears to close after more than two decades in downtown Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 14 comments | 7,015 views

What Local Teens are Saying
By Sherry Listgarten | 19 comments | 2,818 views

Plastic vegie bag ban: Pragmatic? -- or simply politically correct?
By Diana Diamond | 35 comments | 2,096 views

Edible Education – Free Course - UC Berkeley Online
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,332 views

Letting Christmas Linger
By Cheryl Bac | 4 comments | 542 views

 

Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 26 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away more than $7 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. When you make a donation, every dollar is automatically doubled, and 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.

DONATE HERE