For release on August 30, 2013
Deputy District Attorney
FIVE INDICTED FOR BEATING DEATH OF EIGHTH-GRADER IN SAN JOSE PARK
Five San Jose gang members were arraigned this morning with beating to death a 14-year-old boy on a Roosevelt Park basketball court last year after assuming he belonged to a rival gang.
The eighth-grade victim was not a gang member. Heriberto Reyes was there to play pickup basketball. Three days after the beating, he died from massive head injuries.
Indicted by a grand jury this week on charges of murder and felony assault were: Javier Lamas Hernandez, 21, Scott Michael Conway, Jr., 19, Jacob Jimmie Lynch, 18, Joe Chavarria Jr., 31, and Clemente Salas, 16. Lynch and Salas were minors at the time of the attack. The District Attorney’s Office charged them as adults. All face gang enhancements.
The defendants face life in prison, if convicted. The next court date is scheduled for pleas on September 4 in Department 24 of the Hall of Justice.
“There is a sad misconception that gang members only terrorize and target other gang members,’’ prosecutor Carlos Vega said. “Heriberto’s senseless death is a tragic example of how criminal gangs threaten us all.”
Around 6:45 p.m. on April 27, 2012, Heriberto had just been dropped off at the park by his father so that he could play basketball with friends and family members. He was confronted by a crowd of Norteno gang members. They pulled up Heriberto's T-shirt to see if he had any tattoos. Then, despite Heriberto’s protests that he was not affiliated with any gang, they savagely attacked him, stomping repeatedly on his head.
His older brother tried to come to his aid, but he was also attacked and knocked unconscious. Others tried to help but they were threatened by the suspects.
Information from anonymous tipsters helped investigators track down the suspects over the next six months.
Three other defendants remain in custody in this case, facing murder charges.