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State v. Alfaro

Court of Appeals of Idaho

September 25, 2013

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
MICHAEL ALFARO aka MICHAEL ALFANO, MICHAEL ALFARA, Defendant-Appellant

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

2013 Unpublished Opinion No. 681

Appeal from the District Court of the Third Judicial District, State of Idaho, Canyon County. Hon. Thomas J. Ryan, District Judge.

Judgment of conviction and sentences for aiding and abetting first degree murder, two counts of aiding and abetting aggravated assault, and aiding and abetting unlawful discharge of a firearm at a dwelling, and sentence enhancement for infliction of great bodily injury, affirmed.

Robyn Fyffe of Nevin, Benjamin, McKay & Bartlett LLP, Boise, for appellant.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Daphne J. Huang, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Daphne J. Huang argued.

PERRY, Judge

Michael Alfaro appeals from his judgment of conviction and sentences for aiding and abetting first degree murder, two counts of aiding and abetting aggravated assault, and aiding and abetting unlawful discharge of a firearm at a dwelling, and his sentence enhancement for infliction of great bodily injury. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

I.

FACTS AND PROCEDURE

In the summer of 2004, Caldwell experienced a spate of drive-by shootings between rival gangs. One shooting occurred at approximately 3:30 a.m. on August 14, 2004, while Javier "Harvey" Rodriguez, Sael Castillo, Jason Alverado and Carlos Chavez, all associated with the "Westside Lomas" (Westside) gang, were at Rodriguez's house. A vehicle drove by, and two of its passengers began shooting at the house, resulting in Chavez being killed. It was the third shooting investigated by Caldwell police that night alone.

When police arrived on the scene they found various bullet casings in the area, but the bullet that killed Chavez could not be tied to a particular weapon. One neighbor reported seeing a blue car speed away after the shooting, while another described a light tan car with three occupants. Rodriguez told the police he arrived at the house mere moments before the shooting and that Castillo and Alverado were outside in front of the house and Chavez was inside at the time. He could not describe the vehicle from which the shots had been fired and was generally uncooperative in aiding the investigation. After interviewing over 100 people in relation to Chavez's death, the police never recovered a weapon, never identified the vehicle, and had no suspects.

In June 2005, Evan Musquiz, a teenager associated with the "Eastside Locos" (Eastside) gang, who was thirteen years old at the time of Chavez's shooting, told police he had been in a light blue four-door car with other Eastsiders, Arandu Maceda, Richard Alaniz, and a person he only knew as "Mike" who was driving. Musquiz stated the four had driven around for a while and then drove by a residence where Maceda and Alaniz opened fire, shooting at the house and the men in front of the house. Musquiz was shown a six person photo lineup, in which Alfaro was number three, and indicated "Mike" was either two or three. Musquiz could not identify the time of year or the time of day the shooting had taken place, other than to say it was dark. When police provided Musquiz with the location of Rodriguez's house and asked whether it was the location of the shooting, Musquiz said yes. Following Musquiz's interview, Alaniz denied any involvement in the shooting.

In June 2009, another Eastside gang member, Mario Flores, was charged with multiple felonies, including recruiting gang members, supplying firearms, and witness intimidation. Police questioned him as to whether he had any knowledge pertaining to Chavez's death, which he had denied possessing when interviewed shortly after the shooting. This time, Flores told police he had observed Maceda and Musquiz getting into a black Cadillac with Alfaro and Alaniz on the night of August 14, 2004. In exchange for his cooperation, all charges against Flores were dismissed.

On August 6, 2009, a grand jury indicted Alfaro for charges stemming from the August 2004 shooting that caused Chavez's death. An amended indictment charged Alfaro with aiding and abetting first degree murder, Idaho Code §§ 18-4001, 18-4002, 18-4003, or alternatively, involuntary manslaughter, I.C. §§ 18-4006(2), 18-4007, 18-204; two counts of aiding and abetting aggravated assault, I.C. §§ 18-901(a), 18-905(a), 18-204; aiding and abetting unlawful discharge of a firearm at a dwelling, I.C. §§ 18-3317, 18-204; and a sentence enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury, I.C. § 19-2520B.

A five-day jury trial commenced on October 12, 2010. Musquiz, Flores, Alaniz, Rodriguez, and Castillo all testified, providing accounts of the shooting that often conflicted with each other.[1] Musquiz and Alaniz identified Alfaro as the driver. The jury found Alfaro guilty of aiding and abetting first degree murder, both counts of aiding and abetting aggravated assault, and aiding and abetting unlawful discharge of a firearm at a dwelling; the district court found the sentence enhancement for infliction of great bodily injury applicable. The district court entered a judgment of conviction and sentenced Alfaro to a unified term of life, with twenty years determinate, for ...


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