YAKIMA, Wash. — A 22-year-old Yakima man is expected to be sentenced to 15 years based on his acceptance of a plea deal Wednesday, according to the Yakima County Prosecutor’s Office.
Marcos Antonio Rojas, 22, was first arrested in 2009 in connection with a shooting at a Halloween party near downtown Yakima that injured two and killed one person. Rojas was originally charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault, but Wednesday pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and first-degree manslaughter with a weapons enhancement.
Deputy prosecutor Troy Clements said five firearms were used in the shooting and that a lack of cooperation from witnesses made it difficult to identify additional shooters. Those complications hurt efforts to build a stronger case for the original charges, Clements said.
“There were going to be contested evidentiary issues,” he said. “Because five weapons were involved, there were potentially five different shooters.”
The incident occurred at a Halloween party early Oct. 25, 2009, in the 300 block of North Seventh Street. Police said at the time the shooting began after numerous uninvited guests began taunting each other.
Rojas and many of the partygoers were known members of the gang La Raza, Clements said. He said the plea deal was the best result given the complicated circumstances surrounding the incident.
“It’s a compromise basically,” he said. “Neither side is getting what they want.”