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Gang Member Pleads Not Guilty In Stabbing Death

 

documented gang member accused of stabbing a transient 19 times after the defendant issued a gang challenge to the victim pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge. Josue Hernandez Gutierrez, 20, was ordered held in lieu of $1 million bail in connection with the slaying of 48-year-old Emiliano Cortez of San Diego. Gutierrez was arrested Monday outside a friend's College area home. Deputy District Attorney Kristian Trocha told Judge David Szumowski that Gutierrez and a 14-year-old boy attacked Cortez about 4:45 a.m. Saturday as he was walking in the 3700 block of T Street, about a half-mile from the home where the victim lived with relatives. Gutierrez issued a gang challenge, and for some reason, the victim responded that he was from a rival gang, the prosecutor said. The defendant then stabbed the victim 19 times, including 10 to the back, Trocha said. Cortez died Saturday night, according to the prosecutor. The 14-year-old was arrested Tuesday at a Chula Vista residence. His case is being handled in Juvenile Court. Police disclosed no suspected motive for the slaying, except that it was believed to be gang-related. There was no evidence that a robbery or other crime was involved, San Diego police Lt. Kevin Rooney said. Residents of the area where the killing happened told investigators a loud argument and a man's screams prompted them to look outside, at which point they saw someone lying on a sidewalk and two people running off to the east. It was unclear why Cortez was walking through the inner-city neighborhood just east of downtown San Diego, though he apparently was not on his way home. Gutierrez was charged with murder, a gang allegation and the use of a knife. He faces 26 years to life in prison if convicted. A status conference was set for March 1 and a preliminary hearing for March 7.

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