MARTINEZ — A Contra Costa jury returned guilty verdicts against a Concord man whom authorities say shot and killed a 17-year-old boy in a bid to impress MS-13 members in San Francisco and receive their blessings to start a gang subset.

Kristhiam Uceda, 24, was convicted Monday of second degree murder, with a gun enhancement, in the 2017 shooting death of 17-year-old Lawrence Janson. Uceda was also convicted of shooting from a vehicle in a prior incident days earlier, where a woman was shot and wounded in the leg.

Uceda faces 40 years to life on the murder charge alone, but the second shooting conviction could add decades in prison. The court still has to hold a second trial for jurors to decide whether Uceda should be convicted of gang charges too.

During trial Uceda testified that the shooting was self-defense and that Janson had threatened him with a knife. But authorities say no knife was found and that Janson was attempting to flee when Uceda shot him in the back.

Prosecutors say that in 2017, Uceda and a group of his friends were attempting to impress MS-13 members in San Francisco enough to start their own gang subset in Contra Costa County. In MS-13, that means committing acts of violence targeting rivals, so the group began inflaming tensions with people associated with the Norteño gang.

Janson, who police say was not a gang member, had friends affiliated with the Norteños and had been involved in a conflict mediation attempt — targeting MS-13, Norteños, and Sureños — by Mt. Diablo High School months before he was murdered. The day of the homicide, Janson was hanging out with three friends at Olympic High School when two cars full of the MS-13 associates pulled up. Uceda, carrying the same .22 caliber pistol he allegedly used in the park shooting, yelled “MS-13, (expletive),” and fired five times while the group of friends ran away, Deputy District Attorney Kevin Bell told jurors at the start of the trial.

Janson was struck but managed to jump two fences before he fell to the ground, mortally wounded.

Uceda and five others were arrested and charged with a litany of gang crimes, including both shootings. Of the bunch, Uceda was the only one to take his case to trial. His attorney and prosecutors negotiated plea agreements on multiple occasions, but each time Uceda initially said he’d plead no contest, then refused …read more

Source:: The Mercury News


Alleged Concord MS-13 member convicted of murder of teen at local high school

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