Wednesday, 24 April 2024

Teen faces adult prosecution for alleged gang assault

Marco Antonio Meza, who turned 18 in September, is facing eight charges in connection with the alleged gang-motivated assault on a Norteno gang member and his pregnant girlfriend in Kelseyville on Monday, April 6, 2009. That same day, Meza had been implicated in a driveby shooting of a Norteno gang member in Santa Rosa, a case in which he is being prosecuted as an accessory. Lake County Jail photo.


LAKEPORT – A Kelseyville teenager who earlier this year was cleared of a murder charge in Sonoma County is facing numerous felony charges for an incident that occurred the same day as the shooting for which he had been charged in Santa Rosa.

Marco Antonio Meza, 18, is set for an appearance in Lake County Superior Court this Friday, at which time his defense attorney, William Conwell, will argue for reducing the $100,000 bond that's keeping Meza in the Lake County Jail.

The case's preliminary examination likely will be scheduled at the hearing this Friday as well, Deputy District Attorney Dan Hurst told Lake County News.

Meza faces eight charges – four for assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm; participating in a criminal street gang; making threats to commit a crime; selling, importing or keeping a weapon; and disturbing the peace for his alleged part in an April 6 assault in Kelseyville.

Meza is alleged to be an Angelino Heights Sureno gang member, according to court records, and is reported to have several “A” and “H” tattoos on his body.

On April 6 Meza, then 17, and several other people – some of them reportedly gang members and Meza's relatives, including his sister – allegedly assaulted a man who is a validated Norteno and his girlfriend as they were walking along Gold Dust Drive.

The female victim, who was pregnant at the time, was hit in the stomach with a baseball bat. Her child, born some time later, was reported to be OK.

Before the confrontation began, one of the subjects reportedly taunted the male victim to try to get him to fight, calling out “Angelino Heights.”

Later that same day, 18-year-old Santa Rosan Luis Suarez, said to be affiliated with the Nortenos, was killed in a driveby shooting in Santa Rosa at around 9:30 p.m. Two days later, Santa Rosa Police arrested Meza, as Lake County News has reported.

The Lake County District Attorney's Office initially charged Meza in the Kelseyville assault case in June, while he was still being held in Sonoma County.

Then, in September Sonoma County District Attorney Stephen Passalacqua dropped the murder charge against Meza and announced that he would charge with murder 21-year-old Santa Rosa resident and suspected Sureno gang member Fernando Mendoza, who had been arrested at the same time as Meza on a parole violation.

At a Dec. 5 court appearance, officials reported that Meza is still being prosecuted as an accessory in the Suarez murder.

During that hearing, Conwell objected to Meza's bail remaining at the $100,000 level, saying that no new evidence in the case had been presented.

But the prosecution replied that the case in Sonoma County, in which Meza is alleged to be an accessory, is still pending. “If someone was killed it still makes a huge difference in my mind,” said Judge Richard Martin.

Martin left the $100,000 bail in place until this Friday's bail review hearing.

Hurst said later that, despite the fact that Meza was under age when the alleged incident took place, the case is being direct filed in adult superior court under the auspices of Proposition 21, passed in 2000.

That law allows for direct filing on juveniles age 16 and over for some serious violent crimes as well as those involving gang activity.

Records submitted to the court as part of the Kelseyville assault case showed that Meza had a lengthy juvenile criminal history, including involvement in a strong arm robbery in Kelseyville in March of 2007, a car theft and burglary in July of 2006 and, in October of 2005, he was found to have tossed a loaded Derringer pistol from a car during a traffic stop.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

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