Three killed Hemet teen for phone, DA says


   Three people accused of stabbing a Hemet 16-year-old to death last week while trying to steal his cellphone were charged with murder Tuesday, Jan. 22.

   The two juvenile suspects will be 
tried as adults.

   Francisco Roy Zavala Jr., 20, of Hemet; Francisco Siordia, 17, of San Jacinto; and Joseph Venegas, 15, of Hemet, each were charged with murder and a special circumstance of murder during the commission 
of a robbery. Zavala also has an enhancement alleging that he used a deadly weapon. 
   The three are accused of stabbing Eric Sargeant Jr. multiple times while attempting to rob him of his phone Jan. 14, the district attorney’s office said in a news release. The attack occurred in the area of Acacia Avenue and Cherrywood Drive in East Hemet.

   Authorities had not previously released any information about the motive. The district attorney’s office said no further details about the crime were going to be released, because the investigation is ongoing.

   An arraignment for the three scheduled Tuesday afternoon was postponed until 8:30 a.m. Feb. 5 in the Southwest Justice Center in French Valley.

   Judge Judith Clark agreed to the continuance after lawyers told her that the Riverside County public defender’s office, which represents Zavala, was recusing itself from representing the two youths. All three were being held without bail.

   The defendants answered yes and no questions during the court appearance Tuesday, but made no statements. At one point, Clark agreed to issue an order allowing Siordia one phone call to his mother.

   The three are expected to enter pleas at the postponed arraignment next month.

   Follow Darrell R. Santschi on Twitter @DarrellSantschi and online at blog. 
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