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August hearing for alleged Craigslist killers Neal Putnam | Sat, May 28 2011 12:00 PM

An Aug. 16 preliminary hearing was set May 20 for three 17-year-old boys who are being tried as adults for the death of a college student in Paradise Hills.

The incident occurred after the victim had responded to a Craigslist advertisement for a computer.

The three men are charged with murder in the death of Garrett Berki, 18, of Mission Beach.

He was a student at Mesa College.

They are also charged with shooting at an occupied vehicle and two counts of robbery involving Berki and his girlfriend.

Berki and his girlfriend reportedly met with the defendants on May 11 after answering a Craigslist ad for a $600 computer. They met the youths on Fleming Drive and were instead robbed of their cash and cell phones at gunpoint.

The trio, who have pleaded not guilty, waived their right to have a speedy hearing when they appeared before San Diego Superior Court Judge David Szumowski.

The preliminary hearing may last several days and the August date was selected so their attorneys can have enough time to prepare.

Rashon Jay Abernathy, Shaquille Jordan, and Seandell Lee Jones, also waived their right to have a bail review, at least for now.

They remain in Juvenile Hall on $5 million bail each.

After Berki was robbed, he followed the robbers in his car as they turned into a cul-de-sac in the 3000 block of Artemia Way to try and get their license number.

Deputy District Attorney Kristian Trocha said Abernathy fired a shot through a windshield and a bullet struck Berki in the chest, and he died later that night in a hospital.

The mothers of Jordan and Jones appeared at the arraignment and told reporters their sons didn't shoot Berki.

"I'm very sorry for any part my son had in it. Shaquille didn't rob them, didn't shoot them," said Jordan's mother, Patricia Dykes. "He's hurting because someone got killed."

"My son didn't kill anyone, so I don't know why bail is as high as it is and it's just unfair," said Jones' mother, Shearese Johnson.

Trocha said all three teen-agers are legally responsible for the murder under the felony murder rule.

"All of them participated in the robbery. The murder was a part of the robbery and (they) tried to escape," said Trocha.

"These three gentlemen are 17 years old. Some are six months shy of being 18. It was this office's choice to try them as adults," said Trocha.

If convicted, they could be sentenced to 25 years to life for the murder and receive a consecutive 25 year term for using a gun in a homicide.

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