A woman pleaded guilty to reduced charges Monday in connection with a Pioneer Day slaying two years ago.
Jessica Valdez, 21, pleaded guilty to homicide by assault and aggravated assault, both third-degree felonies, in connection with the July 24, 1996, fatal shooting of Lonnie Durazo. Melissa Fraga was also shot in the leg during the assault.In exchange for Valdez's plea, prosecutors dismissed one count of murder, a first degree felony. Third District Judge Frank Noel could give Valdez up to 10 years in prison during her sentencing, scheduled for Oct. 28.
Prosecutor Vincent Meister said Valdez drove one of two cars carrying eight gang members that circled a house at 411 N. Chicago Ave. several times. The group was looking for fellow gang members.
"Valdez pointed out the house," Meister said.
Michael Paul Pierson, 21, and Quetzalcohual S. Chapman, 27, put on black ski masks, got out of the cars, and went to the house. There, Valdez saw them shoot several times and run back to the cars. Valdez then helped at least one of the two men escape from the scene, Meister said.
Durazo, who was not a gang member, was shot and died at the scene. Fraga, his girlfriend, was shot in the leg.
Pierson, who was recently convicted of murder for an unrelated shooting, and Chapman both face charges of murder, a first-degree felony, and attempted murder, a second-degree felony. Pierson's trial is scheduled for Nov. 2.