Judge lowers bond for teen charged in flea market shooting
A judge lowered the bond for a teenager charged in the shooting of two people at a flea market last December after a defense attorney told him that a co-defendant said he wasn't with them at the time of the shooting.
Rene Moreno appeared in Durham County Criminal Superior Court on Thursday afternoon with his attorney Lisa Williams. Moreno, who also goes by the name Rene Moreno-Lopez, was held in the Durham County Jail under a $400,000 bond for a shooting that the prosecutor said was gang related.
Moreno was charged along with Alexander Cardona, Sergio Barboza and Irving Martinez, all 17 at the time of the incident, with attempted murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.
Williams asked that Moreno's bond be reduced to $15,000 because his family could not afford to post a higher bond. Superior Court Judge James Hardin reduced it to $200,000 secured.
The four were charged after they allegedly went to the Green Flea Market on Pettigrew Street, where they got into a fight with a 19-year-old who was there with his family. It was three-to-one when the teen's stepfather got involved, and that's when the fourth defendant pulled out a gun and began firing, said Assistant District Attorney Jim Dornfried.
The 19-year-old was shot several times in the torso, and the stepfather suffered leg wounds.
When the 19-year-old victim came out of surgery and was still under the influence of pain medications, he identified Moreno as one of the four who assaulted him, Williams said.
However, the stepfather, who was not as badly hurt, did not identify Moreno as one of the four teens involved, Williams said.
Barboza has already pleaded guilty in a plea deal and is on probation, Williams said. He wrote a letter saying that Moreno was not with him at the flea market that day, Williams said. Barboza was in the courtroom Thursday afternoon and was prepared to take the stand and answer questions, according to Williams, but Hardin did not ask him to step forward.
Moreno was offered a plea agreement that would let him on out jail on probation, but he refused to take it, which shows his character and his belief that he shouldn't plead guilty to something he did not do, Williams said.
Moreno was born and raised in Durham, is an American citizen and was a pitcher on the Southern High School baseball team, she said.
His family suffered a tragedy when Moreno's younger brother found Moreno's gun and shot and killed their 13-year-old sister with it at the family home, Williams said.
Dornfield argued against reducing the bond, saying that it was a gang fight and Moreno was there. Moreno always hung out with the other suspects in the case, and he and the other suspects visited the flea market together every weekend dressed in gang colors and throwing gang signs, Dornfried said.
Dornfried said he didn't believe Barboza's letter, saying he often receives letters from co-defendants whose cases have been resolved saying their friend wasn't involved.
"You look out for your friends," he said. "That's the code on the street."
Dornfried said he believes Cardona was the shooter.