LOS ANGELES – Three men were charged in the October 2002 kidnapping, rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl who was abducted on her way to school in Montebello and found dead a day later, the District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.
Eddie Chavira, 30, Daniel Cervantes, 35, and George Barraza, 35, are charged along with co-defendant Rosemary Chavira, 28, of Lancaster, who pleaded not guilty in March to killing Brenda Sierra. Barraza remains at large.
Prosecutors said Sierra was killed in an apparent effort to prevent a relative from testifying against one of the defendants in an unrelated shooting case.
The teenager disappeared Oct. 18, 2002, while walking from her home to a friend’s home in the East Los Angeles area to catch a ride with a friend to school.
The high school sophomore’s body was discovered the next day in the San Bernardino Mountains. She had been raped and died of blunt-force trauma to the head, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
At the time of the girl’s disappearance, Eddie Chavira was in custody for a shooting witnessed by one of Sierra’s relatives, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors said Eddie told a fellow member of his East Los Angeles street gang that he was going to have other gang members take care of the witnesses. About the same time, prosecutors said, he called his younger sister, Rosemary, to ask for her help.
In addition to the murder count, Rosemary Chavira, Cervantes and Barraza are facing one count each of conspiracy to dissuade a witness and forcible rape and the special circumstance allegation that Sierra was murdered during the commission of a kidnapping, along with an allegation that the crime was committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang.
Rosemary Chavira was arrested Feb. 27 near her home in Lancaster. She cannot face the death penalty because she was 15 when Sierra was kidnapped and killed, according to the District Attorney’s Office. She faces a maximum of life in prison without the possibility of parole. She is due back in court Aug. 4 when a date is expected to be set for a preliminary hearing.
Eddie Chavira, currently in prison on an unrelated manslaughter conviction, is facing the murder count and a charge of conspiracy to intimidate a witness. He faces 25 years to life if convicted as charged.
Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Cervantes and Barraza, who is a fugitive.
A date has not yet been set for arraignment for Eddie Chavira and Cervantes.
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