With the enlarged mug shots of alleged gang members staring down at them, jurors in a Santa Rosa courtroom Friday heard continuing testimony in the trial of the mistaken-identity killing of a Vallejo musician.
A Sonoma County correctional deputy took the stand, explaining how the investigation into the 2010 freeway shooting death of Dewey Tucker, 24, blew open after a Santa Rosa gang member arrested on unrelated drug and weapons charges came forward.
Deputy Bill Walton, the jail’s gang intelligence officer, said Christopher “Spider” Mancinas, 30, approached him about setting up a meeting with federal agents, presumably to trade information for a break on his new case.
Walton didn’t know it at the time but Mancinas, one of about 200 gang members in the jail, had been working as an FBI informant.
“He told me he had some information he would like to pass on,” Walton testified. “He said, ‘It was a homicide, it was high-profile and I’ve got to get it off my chest.’”
Walton arranged the interview and about three months later police arrested three other men believed to be responsible for Tucker’s death.
Hector Barragan, 29, Javier Carreon-Lopez, 21, and Raul Vega, 20, all of Santa Rosa, were charged with murder. So was Mancinas, who now faces life without parole if convicted.
Mancinas is the first to go to trial in a case that is exposing Santa Rosa’s gang underworld and a turf war between once-friendly factions that led to Tucker’s accidental killing.
The others will be tried later this year.
Prosecutor Bob Waner described in opening remarks how the struggle for control of Southwest Community Park escalated to a 2009 killing and calls for reprisals.
He posted police booking photos of the key figures on the courtroom wall as he told jurors about a letter seized by detectives calling for “hits” on certain members, including Barragan and Mancinas.