CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) -- Three gang members charged in a violent crime spree that stretched from San Ysidro to La Jolla were in court Tuesday in Chula Vista for their preliminary exam.
Michael Pedraza, Cesar Alvarado, and Britney Canal are accused of murdering a South Bay businessman last April and kidnapping and shooting a woman who witnessed it.
Mya Hendrix was the first took take the stand. She's paralyzed and confined to a wheel chair after being shot three times and left to die at Sunset Cliffs. The judge would not allow the media to show the faces of the defendants in court, but they smirked during much of testimony.
Hendrix, 19, said she was friends with the defendants and had done drugs with some of them. She says they turned on her because they thought she stole a backpack with $2,500 in it. Hendrix says they kidnapped her, tortured her with a game of Russian Roulette and tased her multiple times. At one point, she testified she was forced to call her mom for ransom money.
“I told her I needed $2,500. My life depended on it and she was asking me why, and I was forced to say that I had robbed somebody. I wasn’t allowed to say that people had thought I took something from them, they forced me and tased me told me to say that I robbed them," said Hendrix.
Prosecutors said the trio drove Hendrix to various locations.
"They were telling me they were going to put me into sex trafficking. They were telling me they were selling me to this guy they had at the park. They had me like tied up in this garage with duct tape over my mouth and they were tasing me in front of people," said Hendrix.
Prosecutors say Hendrix was in the backseat when the defendants shot and killed a South Bay businessman. According to investigators, the suspects thought 59-year-old Mario Serhan was an undercover cop who was following them.
The defendants are charged with fatally shooting him in the head. Witnesses found Serhan slumped over the steering wheel of his car with a gunshot wound to the head. The vehicle was coasting through the intersection of Industrial Blvd. and L Street before it collided with a storage business, police said.
Hendrix testified that the trio celebrated the killing.
"Ms. Canal was excited. She was like, "good shot babe" cause he was like, "I got him in the dome," testified Hendrix.
She said the defendants cleaned the car with bleach to remove any gun powder residue.
Shortly after, she says they took her to Sunset Cliffs and tried to murder her.
"I walked down the stairs with the gun pointed at me the whole time, pleading for my life, crying he told me to take it with some dignity and not to die like a little *&^%$ and that’s when he shot me the first time, which the bullet hit my ear and I stayed standing. The second time is the one that went in my neck and out of my chest on this side that’s the one where I fell and broke my spinal cord and then as he was walking away he turned around and shot me a third time in the hip. All I could do was lay there and pray," testified Hendrix.
She was found hours later near the surf by tourists at Sunset Cliffs.
A fourth defendant, Francisco Aranda, is also charged in the case. He's accused of setting Hendrix up. Hendrix says she thought they were friends, but Aranda believed she had stolen from him.
Testimony continues Wednesday morning. A judge will decide if there is enough evidence for this case to go to trial.