A man who allegedly attacked an East Palo Alto teenager because the boy was wearing a red rosary and red shoes pleaded not guilty in San Mateo Superior Court on Thursday, Dec. 19.
Edgar Cibrian, 24, allegedly punched the teen because he thought the boy was wearing a gang color, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
The teen and his 30-year-old female cousin were walking home from a grocery store on East O'Keefe Street on May 17 at 1 p.m. Cibrian and another male allegedly approached the pair and demanded to know if the teen was gang banging. The victim said he was not, but Cibrian allegedly punched him in the face three times, according to the DA's office.
Cibrian allegedly held a knife to the teen's neck and cut off the rosary. He allegedly told the female cousin that if she called police, he would kill her and her whole family, according to Wagstaffe's office. Cibrian then fled in a car.
East Palo Alto police investigating the case identified Cibrian as a suspect, and the cousin positively identified him, Wagstaffe's office said.
Cibrian is charged with second-degree robbery, being a convicted gang member committing a violent felony, use of a deadly or dangerous weapon in the commission of a felony, and dissuading a witness under threat. He faces up to 16 years in state prison if convicted of all charges. He remains in custody on $185,000 bail. His jury trial is scheduled for on April 1, 2014.
He is on parole for felony witness intimidation, the DA's office said. Cibrian and several others were charged with intimidating witnesses in the 2009 murder trial of Redwood City teen Josue Orozco, 14. Orozco was the youngest person in San Mateo County history to be charged as an adult. The jury deadlocked in his murder trial, but during his second trial, Orozco pleaded guilty to lesser charges of voluntary manslaughter and witness intimidation. He was sentenced to 43 years in prison.