Paralyzed woman testifies in prelim hearing against those charged in shooting her
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 03/11/19 - 05:05 PM | 4656 views | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Blue tinted monotone image of a gavel and scales of justice
Blue tinted monotone image of a gavel and scales of justice
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Three people were ordered March 7 to stand trial for attempted murder and kidnapping in which a woman was shot three times and left for dead in the Sunset Cliffs area.

Mya Hendrix, 19, the semi-paralyzed woman who came into court in a wheelchair, identified the three people at a preliminary hearing that lasted three days in Chula Vista Superior Court.

The hearing was in Chula Vista because other crimes were committed in the South Bay area. Hendrix testified she was in the car after being kidnapped when the others shot and killed Mario Serhan, 59, while in traffic on April 11, 2018 in Chula Vista.

Hendrix also identified the gun which shot her and and also killed Mario Serhan, 59, who was shot in the head in traffic in Chula Vista on April 11, 2018.

Judge Stephanie Sontag ordered Cesar Alvarado, 40, Michael Anthony Pedraza, 28, Britney Giselle Canal, 30, to stand trial for Serhan's murder, attempted murder and kidnapping of Hendrix, and other crimes.

A fourth co-defendant, Francisco Diego Aranda, 30, was ordered to stand trial for robbing Hendrix, but he was not in the car when the others drove Hendrix to the Sunset Cliffs area and left her for dead after Pedraza allegedly shot her.

Serhan was shot in the head at 12:50 p.m. at a red light in Chula Vista. Hendrix said the group mistakenly thought Serhan was an undercover police officer following them. Serhan was actually a businessman making several stops in the area.

Ironically, the trio could face the death penalty or a life term in prison due to kidnapping Hendrix because Serhan was killed during Hendrix's kidnapping.

Deputy District Attorney David Grapilon said a special circumstance was filed agains the three that alleges Serhan's murder occurred during Hendrix's kidnapping. Grapilon said the law doesn't specify the kidnapping victim to be the one who died for the special circumstance to be considered true.

The other special circumstances include murder while firing into an occupied vehicle and while lying in wait.

"I was kidnapped, held without my own will," said Hendrix.  "They had me tied up in this garage with duct tape over my mouth and they were tasing me." 

Serhan's killer was alleged to be Alvarado with Canal as the driver. Hendrix said Pedraza shocked her with the taser while in the car.

She said the group took her to the Sunset Cliffs area and she was forced out of the car at gunpoint. 

"I walked down the stairs with the gun pointed at me the whole time, pleading for my life, crying," said Hendrix.

"[Pedraza] told me to take it with some dignity and not to die like a little [expletive]," said Hendrix.

The first shot grazed her ear, but the second shot caused her paralysis. "The second (shot) went in my neck and... that's the one in which I fell and broke my spinal cord," said Hendrix.

"As [Pedraza] was walking away, he turned around and shot me a third time," said Hendrix. "All I could do is just lay there and pray."

Alvarado, Pedraza, and Canal were also ordered to stand trial for attempted murder of a man in National City, kidnapping another man in San Ysidro, and robbery of two people at a Chula Vista motel.

The defendants will return to court on April 11 to set a trial date. They all have pleaded not guilty and remain in jail.

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