EL CENTRO – Martin “Tiny” Andrade, Heber, will be arraigned August 29th at the Imperial County Courthouse for Premeditated Murder with a Gang Enhancement in the stabbing death of Martin Garza, Brawley.
At the preliminary proceedings Tuesday, Judge Burunda heard testimony from Officer Luis Hernandez on gang related activity in El Centro.
Hernandez, a 20 year veteran of the El Centro Police Department, deals with gang related activity. He has many years of experience with the North Side Centro gang.
“It was a gang crime,” said Hernandez. “To commit a crime glorifies the gang member in the eyes of the gang or other gangs. Respect is what these gangs are all about. To disrespect a gang will cause them to defend their territory. It doesn’t take much to disrespect them. Just showing up in their territory is disrespecting the gang. Gangs defend their territories at all times.”
Garza was allegedly stabbed multiple times on January 6th, 2013, by Andrade. Garza died of his injuries.
“Andrade is an admitted and documented member of the North Side Centro gang,” said Hernandez.
Andrade had just been released from jail before the January 6th incident.
Defense Attorney Donald LeVine contended that there is no evidence of premeditated murder.
Prosecuting Attorney Jill Cristich said timing is the key to premeditation and that it could be within a split second.
Andrade and his gang were armed with knives when the stabbing occurred.
Judge Burunda found that there was probable cause and that the arraignment would be August 29th for Count 1 PC 187(a) Premeditated Murder with PC 186.22(b)(1) Gang Enhancement.
“Bail has been set out of reach for Mr. Andrade,” said LeVine.
The trial for Andrade must be within 60 days of the arraignment date.