A Fresno man is on trial for shooting into a car and hitting a 10-month-old baby in the head. The prosecutor said the suspect became angry when the woman he was flirting with turned him down.
Deputy District Attorney Jenny Volanti said in her opening statement on Thursday that 27-year-old Marcos Antonio Echartea met 18-year-old Deziree Menagh at a friend’s birthday party on June 22, 2019.
The party was in the front yard of a house in southeast Fresno on the 3600 block of East Hammond Avenue.
Several times during the evening, Echartea tried to talk to Menagh, but she wouldn’t talk. Volanti said that he tried to talk to her in the bathroom and then asked her to sit on his lap.
When Menagh’s Black friend comes over, Echartea sees her talking to him. Volanti says that he gets angry and yells at Menagh, “You’re going to choose a black guy over me!”
At that point, she makes up her mind to leave Echartea. She gets her baby, Fayth Percy, who is 10 months old, and they get into her friend’s Audi.
Volanti said to drive a short distance away, stop, and wait until things calm down.
“Then, out of nowhere, the defendant appeared and fired three shots at the car,” Volanti said.
Fayth is hit in the forehead by one of these bullets. It goes through her brain and comes out the back of her head. The car is hit by two more shots, but no one else is hurt.
The driver speeds away and calls 911 because he is scared.
A 10-month-old Baby Who Was Shot in the Head Lives
Fresno police officer Rodney Zumkehr was just finishing up a call when he saw the Audi driver flashing his lights and honking his horn. Zumkehr stops the car, and almost as soon as he does, the driver and the baby’s mother rush out and beg for help.
The body cam video of Zumkehr shows a crazy scene. You hear Fayth crying and yelling, and then you see her wrapped in a blanket with blood all over her face.
The tweet below verifies the news:
If convicted on all counts, the defendant could face life in prison. https://t.co/wnKTH4SD5v
— Fresno Bee (@FresnoBee) June 2, 2023
“Oh my God, my baby, Oh my God,” the scared mother screams.
Zumkehr said in court that he tried to stop the baby’s bleeding by putting gentle pressure on its cuts.
“She was surprisingly alive, but she was also slipping in and out of consciousness,” Zumkehr said.
The baby was taken to Community Regional Medical Center, where she had to have surgery right away. Volanti said that she was taken care of by doctors for 26 days and then sent to a rehab center to heal from her traumatic brain injury.
A witness who was also at the party said that she heard the gunshots and heard Echartea’s brother yell at him.
“He asked, ‘Why did you do that? “Go back inside the house,” said Heaven Moran, who had known Menagh for a long time. “I also heard him call his brother stupid and say that the cops were coming.”
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Defense Questions Story
During her opening comments, Jane Boulger, who is Echartea’s lawyer, said that the witnesses in the case have given a lot of different stories. She also said that no one can prove that her client tried to pull Menagh into a bathroom to talk.
Boulger said that there was a lot of drinking at the party and that her client was among those who were drinking. She wonders if the memories of some of the witnesses might not be as clear as they say they are.
Boulger said that this wasn’t a case of jealousy because of love.
“In this case, the picture of my client will be changed,” she said. “We know that someone shot and hurt a child. But we don’t know who did it, what it was, when it happened, where it happened, or why. There is another side to the story.”
Echartea is accused of assaulting someone with a gun, assaulting someone with a semi-automatic gun, and shooting at someone from a car.
If Echartea is found guilty on all charges, he could spend the rest of his life in jail.
The trial is likely to go on in Dept. 72 through next week.
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