Mystery Around Dewey Tucker's Death Solved

Four men pleaded not guilty in Sonoma County Superior Court Thursday morning to the drive-by shooting murder of musician Dewey Tucker a year ago in Contra Costa County.

Tucker, 24, of Vallejo, was on his way to band practice at his church at about 10 p.m. on Jan. 12, 2010, when he was fatally shot in his car on westbound Interstate Highway 80 just west of Cummings Skyway near Hercules, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Trent Cross said.

Tucker had played bass for hip-hop artists Lauryn Hill and Bobby Brown.

Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said Tucker was "simply in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The criminal complaint alleges that the four Santa Rosa defendants, Hector Barragan, 28, Javier Ivan Carreon-Lopez, 20, Christopher Mancinas, 29, and Raul Vega, 19, are gang members and that the killing was for the benefit of a criminal street gang.

According to the complaint, a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy advised Barragan on Jan. 12, 2010, that a threat had been made against him by a rival gang member in a letter that had been intercepted.

Barragan then allegedly met with the other three defendants in Sonoma County and planned retaliation against the rival gang, according to the complaint.

The four men then allegedly drove to Solano County looking for the rival gang member and stole a car, according to the criminal complaint and the CHP. They spotted Tucker leaving his Vallejo apartment and mistakenly believed Tucker was their target, Sonoma County prosecutors allege.

The defendants pursued Tucker onto the freeway, shot him in the head and abandoned the stolen vehicle, according to the complaint.

CHP investigators believe Vega was the shooter.

The complaint alleges that the defendants then drove back to Sonoma County and gave the murder weapon to another gang associate there. The weapon was later recovered.

The defendants are charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, the use of a firearm resulting in death and gang-related enhancements.

Vega also pleaded not guilty this morning to the stabbing murder of Juan Carlos Angel-Esparza, 20, at Kawana Elementary School in Santa Rosa on Saturday.

Angel-Esparza was found at the school, located at 2121 Moraga Drive, shortly after 5 p.m. suffering from stab wounds. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Prosecutors allege that his murder was the result of an escalating rivalry between two gangs over control of territory.

Deputy District Attorney Robert Waner said this morning that the connection between the two murders "will become very clear at the preliminary hearing."

A date for the hearing will be set Jan. 21.

Bay City News

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