Man pleads not guilty to fatal 2011 shooting in East Palo Alto | News | Palo Alto Online |

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Man pleads not guilty to fatal 2011 shooting in East Palo Alto

College student was sitting in car where shots were fired

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A 27-year-old man formerly of East Palo Alto pleaded not guilty Jan. 17 to murder charges related to the fatal shooting of Cate Fisher, a 19-year-old from Menlo Park, in 2011.

In September, Christian Fuentes was extradited to San Mateo County from Colorado. According to the county District Attorney's Office, Fuentes was convicted and sentenced to prison for the murder of a rival gang member in Colorado.

He was arraigned on Sept. 18 on charges of murder, attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, being a felon in possession of a firearm, driving or taking a vehicle without consent and driving a motor vehicle without a valid driver's license.

Fisher, 19, was a college student who had graduated from Menlo-Atherton High School and was an instructor at Menlo Park Gymnastics Center. At 2 a.m. on July 13, 2011, she was sitting in a Chevrolet Tahoe parked in a driveway in the 2500 block of Annapolis Drive in East Palo Alto with a man and another woman when three people, one of whom was later identified as Fuentes, allegedly pulled up next to them in another vehicle.

Two of them got out of the car and began firing a 9mm firearm and .40-caliber rounds at the Chevrolet. Investigators later determined the incident to be a "gang execution shooting," according to prosecutors.

Fisher was struck multiple times by the gunfire and was pronounced dead at Stanford Hospital. The two other occupants of the Chevrolet were not hit by bullets, police said at the time. The two alleged shooters left the scene for Colorado.

Read more about Fisher here.

The other two suspects in Fisher's shooting, the driver and the second shooter, are still at large, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Fuentes faces a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

He is being held without bail, and his preliminary hearing has been scheduled for May 22 at 9 a.m., according to online court records.

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Kate Bradshaw writes for The Almanac, the sister publication of PaloAltoOnline.com.

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