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Boy, 14, charged as adult in killing

February 10, 2007|From the Associated Press

UKIAH, CALIF. — A 14-year-old boy accused of gunning down his sister's boyfriend on a small American Indian reservation shook his head and cried Friday as he was charged as an adult with murder.

Marcos C. Escareno did not enter a plea in Mendocino County Superior Court because his family asked for more time to hire a lawyer. He was held at juvenile hall in lieu of $550,000 bail, and his arraignment was postponed until Feb. 21.

According to Mendocino County Sheriff's Lt. Kurt Smallcomb, the boy used a rifle Tuesday to shoot Enoc Cruz, 21, in the head and back as the man sat behind the wheel of his van near Escareno's home on the Manchester-Point Arena Rancheria.

Cruz had dated Escareno's 22-year-old sister, but investigators would did not discuss a possible motive in the killing.

Escareno, who arrived in court wearing an orange jail shirt with his hands shackled at his waist, is a member of the Manchester Band of Pomo Indians, a tribe spokesman said.

Escareno was arrested at his mother's house on the rancheria, a small reservation where 250 members of the Pomo tribe live near the coast about 140 miles north of San Francisco.

The boy could be sentenced to up to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder as an adult. His mother, aunt and two of his sisters cried in court during the short hearing.

Escareno's mother, Mary Logan, said that she didn't know what happened and that her son did not have other problems with the law.

"No, no, never," she said as she sobbed outside the courtroom.

But Smallcomb said deputies were familiar with the boy. He had been due in juvenile court next week, but authorities declined to say what charges he faced in that case.

The investigation was continuing, but there were no other suspects, Smallcomb said.

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