A semi-paralyzed woman whose spinal cord was severed from a bullet identified four people Tuesday who are charged with her attempted murder and kidnapping.
Mya Hendrix, 19, also identified the gun which injured her and killed Mario Serhan, 59, who was shot in the head in traffic in Chula Vista on April 11, 2018.
The testimony from Hendrix came on the first day of the preliminary hearing conducted by Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sontag for Cesar Alvarado, 40, Michael Anthony Pedraza, 28, Britney Giselle Canal, 30, and Francisco Diego Aranda, 30.
Serhan was shot in the head at 12:50 p.m. at a red light at Industrial Blvd. at L Street in Chula Vista. Hendrix said the group mistakenly thought Serhan was an undercover police officer.
Hendrix came into court in a wheelchair, and she cannot use her hands or fingers fully. She has improved remarkably since she was shot three times and left for dead in the Sunset Cliffs area.
Alvarado, Canal, and Pedraza have been charged with special circumstances in which the death penalty could be imposed if they are convicted. The special circumstances include murder while firing into an occupied vehicle, lying in wait, and in the course of a kidnapping.
Deputy District Attorney David Grapilon said the slaying of Serhan occurred while Hendrix was being kidnapped. He said the law doesn’t require the murder victim being kidnapped—only that the death occurred during a kidnapping, which in this case was the young woman.
“I was kidnapped, held without my own will,” said Hendrix.
Hendrix said shortly after Serhan’s murder, the group went to a National City residence and Pedraza poured bleach on an area of the car to remove any evidence of gun residue.
The gunman was alleged to be Alvarado with Canal as the driver. Hendrix said Pedraza shocked her with the taser while in the car.
She said the group took her to the Sunset Cliffs area and she was forced out of the car at gunpoint.
“I walked down the stairs with the gun pointed at me the whole time, pleading for my life, crying,” said Hendrix.
“He (Pedraza) told me to take it with some dignity and not to die like a little (expletive),” said Hendrix.
The first shot grazed her ear, but the second shot caused her paralysis. “The second (shot) went in my neck and…that’s the one in which I fell and broke my spinal cord,” said Hendrix.
“As he (Pedraza) was walking away, he turned around and shot me a third time,” said Hendrix. “All I could do is just lay there and pray.”
The group is also accused of attempted murder and assault of a man in National City, kidnapping another man in San Ysidro, and robbery of two people at a Chula Vista motel.
The hearing is expected to conclude by Friday. All of the defendants have pleaded not guilty and remain in jail.