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Ruling Due on Trial of Girl in Killing of Actor

November 16, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

A 15-year-old girl in custody in connection with the murder of television and film actor Merlin Santana has been ordered to return to court Dec. 10, when a judge will determine if she should be tried as a juvenile or an adult.

Authorities believe the teenager was the driver of a car used in the shooting and not the one who pulled the trigger, a district attorney's office spokeswoman said Friday.

Sandi Gibbons said the Juvenile Court petition against the girl, who also is charged with attempted murder, alleges that "a principal was armed with a rifle," which means authorities believe someone other than the girl actually did the shooting.

Police were still looking for two adult suspects Friday.

The teenager's identity has not been released.

Santana, 26, best known for his role as Romeo Santana on TV's "The Steve Harvey Show," was shot last Saturday as he sat in a parked car with a friend in the 3800 block of Victoria Avenue in South Los Angeles.

The friend, who was not hurt, drove to Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards and flagged down a police car. Santana died at the scene, according to Los Angeles Police Lt. Clay Farrell.

The New York-born Santana, whose parents emigrated from the Dominican Republic, had appeared with Eddie Murphy and Robert De Niro in the film "Showtime," released earlier this year.

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