Seven suspects have yet to enter pleas in two high-profile murder cases involving teenagers.
Though some of the suspects were juveniles themselves at the time of shootings, all will be tried as adults and could receive life in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Elgin Lowe.
Robert Joseph Yim, 21, and Veronica Rodriguez, 20, both of Hayward, appeared briefly at the Hayward Hall of Justice Monday morning in the case of .
Authorities arrested the two on March 30 as they were leaving a home in Newark.
In the week following the March 30 arrest, Yim, was also , who was gunned down in front of Barnard-White Middle School in Union City. Five others were also arrested and charged with murder for the benefit of a street gang in that case.
The other suspects in Eddins’ death are:
- Eric Anthony Camacho, 21;
- Jovencio Luis Camacho, 22, who was arrested last Wednesday afternoon in Union City;
- Richard Antonio Corona, 21, who was arrested last Wednesday morning in Hayward;
- Alexis Alfonso Pamiroyan, 22, who was arrested last Wednesday evening in Hayward; and
- Derek Justin Rodriguez, 23, who was arrested last Thursday evening in San Leandro.
All but Eric Camacho appeared in court Monday morning. According to Lowe, Eric Camacho is currently incarcerated at a state prison for a previous carjacking and was unable to be present.
Each of the suspects was called one-by-one and was initially scheduled to enter pleas. However, four of the six had yet to meet with or be assigned attorneys.
All seven are now scheduled to return to the Hayward Hall of Justice at 9 a.m. April 17.
Though Lowe could not comment on the investigation, he said the breakthroughs in both cases were the result of diligent investigative work.
“There’s no statute of limitations for murder, so we keep investigating,” Lowe said.
In a press release issued after Yim and Veronica Rodriguez’s arrests, Hayward police said they determined the two to be suspects in Nava’s death through “forensics examinations and witness accounts.”
The and the Southern Alameda County Major Crimes Task Force headed the Eddins case and worked in conjunction with Hayward police, Cmdr. Ben Horner of the UCPD said. He said the arrests in Eddins’ shooting death were also the result of additional witness statements.
“The case has never been closed,” Horner said. “With time, some of the witnesses have been more forthcoming.”
The investigation is still ongoing, Horner said.
Eddins, who was a freshman at at the time of his death, was killed in front of Barnard-White Middle School on Whipple Road at about 3:20 p.m. on Dec. 21, 2007.
Eddins’ death, along with the fatal shootings of 17-year-old and 21-year-old Jesus Cruz earlier in the year were catalysts for a citywide anti-violence campaign in Union City.
“For me, Vernon’s death brought us to a common ground. It affected everyone,” said Karen Yifru, whose son, Biniam, was shot and killed at a house party in June 2007. Yifru helped spearhead Union City's Youth Violence Prevention Coalition, which evolved into the city-run Youth Violence Prevention and Intervention Program.
“When Vernon died, he pushed us over the edge and pushed us forward. He was 14. He was a baby," she said.
The shooting death of Eddins and other incidents in which black students were allegedly attacked by Latino gangs prompted a group of parents to file a lawsuit against the New Haven Unified School District claiming that school officials failed to protect black youths from attacks by a Latino gang.
According to Oakland civil rights attorney Pamela Price, who represented the
parents of 12 students, to be split among the students' families.
Price said the same plaintiffs have a similar lawsuit pending against the Union City Police Department, alleging that it also hasn't done enough to protect black youths.
Bay City News Service contributed to this report.