STOCKTON — A judge’s ruling on Friday, Dec. 13, will send a Lathrop man to trial for the shooting of a 17-year-old Tracy girl outside her home on Redbridge Road in March.
Angelo Alex Abila, 20, is charged with premeditated attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, assault with a firearm, street terrorism, inflicting great bodily injury, intentional and personal discharge of a firearm, and use of a firearm in commission of a felony.
Judge Bernard Garber ruled during a preliminary hearing in San Joaquin County Superior Court that Deputy District Attorney Donald Vaughn had presented probable cause to try Abila. He scheduled the next hearing at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 20, in Department 35.
Five witnesses testified during the preliminary hearing, including shooting victim Nikki Mello.
Mello told the court that she was shot once in the back while breaking up a party she hosted at her house on the 2800 block of Redbridge Road on March 16.
Mello said she was shot in her backyard after asking Abila and a few of his friends to leave the party.
“I heard what I believe was the sound of the gun,” she said. “I started to run. I was counting them (shots), hoping they would stop.”
Mello said she heard bullets ricocheting off the back walls of her house. She said the fifth or sixth shot hit her in the back, and the bullet remains inside her body.
The most telling testimony about the shooting came from witnesses Zachary Poff and Dylan Multane.
Both men testified in court that they were at Mello’s party when they both saw Abila shoot a gun six times towards Mello’s backyard.
Poff said he was heavily intoxicated at the time of the shooting, but he remembered what occurred.
He said he was in the back alleyway with another witness, Joshua Brown, preparing to leave, when he saw Abila shoot and Brown yell at the shooter to stop.
“Josh was saying, ‘Stop, don’t do it,’ ” Poff said. “He (Abila) shot through the fence and hit Nikki. He was shooting into the fence.”
Multane, who also admitted to drinking heavily at the party, testified that he, too, saw Abila shoot a gun in the alley.
When defense attorney Vittoria Bossi questioned him, Multane said he saw Abila “fire a gun into the solid wood fence six times.”
Multane said Brown wanted to leave after the shooting, but he was conflicted about going.
“I wanted to go and see if she (Mello) was OK,” Multane said. “I heard screaming, people yelling about her.”
When Brown took the witness stand, he testified that he didn’t remember what happened. He said he had been drinking alcohol and smoking medical marijuana the night of the party.
“I don’t recall much of that night,” he said. “I don’t remember a lot.”
Brown said that when Tracy detectives interviewed him two days after the shooting, he told them what he had heard from other partygoers.
Detective Alex Kalinin of Tracy Police Department testified that he had interviewed Brown at his houses and that Brown had told officers that day that he had seen Abila shooting a gun.
After the witnesses testified, Garber ruled that Abila should be held accountable for all his criminal charges.
Vaughn said a trial date would be set during the hearing Friday. He said he expected the trial to take several weeks in the late spring or early summer.
Yvette Perez, the mother of the girl who was shot, said after the preliminary hearing as she embraced her daughter outside the courtroom that she was grateful for the court ruling.
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.