Teens In Fatal Craigslist Ad Robbery Plead Not Guilty

Garrett Berki, 18, Shot To Death In Paradise Hills After Responding To Craigslist Ad

Three teenagers accused of killing a young college student after luring him to a late-night robbery in Paradise Hills by posting a $600 computer for sale on Craigslist pleaded not guilty Friday to murder, robbery and other charges.

Rashon Abernathy, Seandell Jones and Shaquille Jordan, all 17, were each ordered held on $5 million bail in the shooting death Wednesday night of 18-year-old Garrett Berki, a 2010 graduate of La Jolla High School.

The victim lived with his mother in Mission Beach and attended Mesa College.

Although they are minors, the defendants were charged directly in adult court. They each face 50 years to life in prison if convicted.

Deputy District Attorney Kristian Trocha told Judge Joseph Brannigan that Berki and his girlfriend went to Paradise Hills to buy the computer, and when the victim pulled out his money, one of the defendants pulled out a handgun and robbed the victims of the cash and their cellphones.

The prosecutor said Berki and his girlfriend saw the defendants get into a car driven by Jones and followed the suspect vehicle onto the freeway and back onto surface streets.

When Berki tried to box in the suspect vehicle in a cul-de-sac, Abernathy -- seated behind the driver -- fired one shot through the windshield striking the victim in the chest, Trocha alleged.

Berki died at a hospital.

Trocha said the defendants fled and crashed their car near the crime scene, but were captured in the backyards of homes in the area.

He said the computer supposedly up for sale -- an Apple MacBook Pro -- was recovered, along with an expended .45-caliber shell casing.

Without being specific, Trocha said two of the defendants were documented gang members and the other was a gang member.

Besides murder, the defendants are charged with two counts of robbery and one count of shooting into an occupied vehicle.

A status conference was set for May 20 and a preliminary hearing for May 26.

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