New charge added against teen arrested in double stabbing | December 2, 2011 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - December 2, 2011

New charge added against teen arrested in double stabbing

Remains held on $260,000 bail

by Glenn Wohltmann

The teen charged in a September double stabbing near Village High School now faces an attempted murder charge.

Victor Garcia, 16, was originally charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon in the stabbing of Cameron "CamCam" Gipson and Dawayne Barnes.

The two were stabbed with a knife from Village's home economics class in a confrontation that grew out of an earlier dispute between others at the school that led to Gipson's girlfriend being suspended.

The attempted murder charge, in the stabbing of Gipson, was added Monday during a second day of Garcia's preliminary hearing in Alameda County Superior Court in Pleasanton.

"The location of the injury shows he was aiming for a vital organ of Mr. Gipson," prosecutor Connie Campbell told Judge Jacob Blea III. "I believe it has been proven more likely than not that is what the defendant wanted."

Defense attorney Thomas Knutsen said there was no proof that Garcia had armed himself that day.

"They're asking you to speculate that knives were available that date and that Mr. Garcia had access to them on that date," Knutsen told the judge.

However, Campbell said Garcia had been told by Village Principal Greg Giglio to leave directly after school, and that the teen had a home economics class after that meeting. Campbell said it was unlikely that Garcia had been carrying a knife he'd previously taken from the school and was bringing with him every day.

Blea recessed the court for about 20 minutes to consider Campbell's request to add the charge before ruling in favor of the prosecution. He then ruled there was probable cause for a trial to be held and sent the case to Superior Court in Hayward, which handles felony prosecutions.

The new attempted murder charge carries a maximum penalty of life with the possibility of parole. The two counts of assault with a deadly weapon can each carry a sentence of up to four years in state prison. Garcia is also charged with inflicting great bodily injury, which could carry an additional sentence of three years, of committing a violent felony, which could add another three years, and under a state statute that prohibits plea bargaining in some violent crimes.

Gipson's father Byron has been lobbying for the additional charge since the Sept. 15 stabbing.

"Cam is damaged for life and this guy may go to prison for a long time. I'm not the kind of person that wants to ruin a person's life. God said to forgive," Byron Gipson said Tuesday in an interview. "I think we need to send a message to these kids that you can ruin your life by bad decisions. Cam made a bad decision by going up there and (Garcia) made a bad decision by stabbing him."

Byron Gipson is also worried about his son's continued safety. He said a member of the South Side Riders gang -- the same gang that his son testified had threatened him at Amador Valley High School -- attended the preliminary hearing. He also said his son had been threatened near his home, and that he is dealing with anxiety as well as medical issues.

Monday's hearing was complicated by several sidebars and off-the-record discussions in Blea's chambers after Knutsen asked to cross-examine Barnes.

"Self defense is the issue to be addressed here," Knutsen told the judge.

Blea, however, invoked a trial rule, deciding that Knutsen was not legally allowed to use Barnes' testimony for to gain information to bolster his defense, even though Barnes refused to speak to a defense investigator.

Garcia remains held on $260,000 bail. He was dressed in a blue Alameda County jail sweatshirt and tan slacks with a shackle chained to his waist.

The 16-year-old said little during his appearance, but was patted on the shoulder by Knutsen before being led back to jail.

Garcia has been scheduled for a Dec. 12 hearing at the Hayward Hall of Justice.


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