A Santa Rosa gang turf war gone awry was blamed Monday for the mistaken-identity killing of a Vallejo musician as he drove along an East Bay freeway two years ago.
Dewey Tucker, 24, was a casualty in the ongoing battle for Southwest Community Park, Sonoma County prosecutor Bob Waner said at the opening of the trial of one of his accused killers, Christopher “Spider” Mancinas, 30, of Petaluma.
After receiving word of a threat from one of their rivals, Mancinas and three co-defendants drove to Vallejo on Jan. 12, 2010, to stake out an apartment where they believed their enemy lived.
When a car pulled out of the driveway, they followed it onto Interstate 80, drove alongside and shot at it, Waner said.
They hit Tucker, a bass player for hip hop singer Lauryn Hill, who was driving to a rehearsal, Waner said.
“This case is about gangs. This case is about a turf war gone awry,” Waner told jurors. “It's about a deadly mistake in identification perpetrated by this man.”
Mancinas is the first to go to trial. The other defendants — Hector Barragan, 29, Javier Carreon-Lopez, 21, and Raul Vega, 20 — will be tried later this year.
Vega is also charged with murder in an unrelated stabbing death at Santa Rosa's Kawana Elementary School.
The killings appear to stem from tension between two factions of the sureno gang — Varrio Angelino Heights and the Varrio Sureno Locos.
Tension mounted in the wake of the 2009 killing of Vega's friend, Alejandro Ortega, 18, who Waner said was an Angelino Heights member.
Sometime before Tucker was killed, police intercepted a jailhouse letter that called for the assassination of Barragan, an Angelino Heights leader, and his friend, Mancinas, among others.
Hours after a detective tipped Barragan to the threat, he and Mancinas assembled a small contingent to search for the man they thought killed Ortega, Waner said.