One of two suspects in the shooting death of an 18-year-old Yakima man was arraigned in court Tuesday morning.
Luis Daniel Valencia’s attorney, Patrick True, entered a not guilty plea to second-degree murder on Valencia’s behalf during the hearing in Yakima County Superior Court’s jail courtroom. Valencia, 16, appeared by Zoom from the Yakima County Juvenile Justice Center, where he is being detained because of his age.
Valencia is charged as an adult in the Oct. 28 death of Sebastian Alejandro Suarez under a state law that automatically refers older teens to adult court when charged with murder or other serious violent crimes. He is also facing a charge of second-degree unlawful firearms possession.
Valencia and a 14-year-old accomplice are accused of shooting Suarez, 18, at the intersection of South 20th Avenue and West Nob Hill Boulevard. Police said Valencia and the other teen opened fire after exchanging words with Suarez.
Suarez died at the scene. His death is among 11 homicides in Yakima County this year.
While Valenica is being tried as an adult, the other teen will remain in juvenile court on charges of second-degree murder and unlawful firearms possession, Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Brusic said earlier.
“We have to look at his past criminal history, his social history and make a full evaluation,” Brusic said Thursday. “There’s just not enough prior contacts within the juvenile system to ‘decline’ him as an adult.”