Crime - Sacto 911

Judge sets trial date for two men accused of murder in melee at Sacramento City College

Tevita Kaihea, left, and Charlie Hola, right, in Sacramento Superior Court on Dec. 31, 2015.
Tevita Kaihea, left, and Charlie Hola, right, in Sacramento Superior Court on Dec. 31, 2015. lsterling@sacbee.com

Two men police tied to a deadly daylight shooting in a Sacramento City College parking lot in September 2015 will stand trial for murder in the fall, a judge ordered Wednesday.

Tevita Kaihea and Charlie Hola, both 21, face a Nov. 27 trial date in Sacramento Superior Court in the shooting death of 25-year-old Roman Gonzalez.

Prosecutors say hard looks and coded greetings from gang rivals – the Tongan Crips and the Franklin Boulevard Nortenos – triggered the bloodshed on Sept. 3, 2015, that briefly shut down the Land Park campus in its chaotic aftermath.

Hola was stabbed four times before he was able to flee, investigators testified at the pair’s preliminary hearing. Gonzalez was cut down by gunfire. Prosecutors say Kaihea fired the fatal shots.

Both Hola and Kaihea remain in Sacramento County custody.

“We are ready for trial,” said prosecuting Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Jeff Hightower at Wednesday’s hearing.

A fourth man, Rico Ridgeway, who prosecutors believe stabbed Hola, faces trial later this year in Sacramento Superior Court on assault charges related to the violence. Ridgeway previously told The Bee that Gonzalez was his cousin.

Hola, in jail-issued orange, hair tied into a tight ponytail, stood with defense attorney Alex Asterlin for the late morning appearance before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Richard Sueyoshi.

Kaihea, absent from the hearing, was represented by defense attorney Danny Brace.

Both Kaihea and Hola have been accused of being affiliated with the Tongan Crips. Asterlin said he plans to enlist a gang expert to meet with Hola at Sacramento County Main Jail. Hola’s potential gang affiliation and whether bad blood between the organizations was a motivation for the killing is central to the murder case against him and his partner.

Sacramento prosecutors say the fatal shooting capped a two-day crime spree from Hola and Kaihea.

That spree allegedly included a Sept. 2 armed robbery in the garage of a south Sacramento County home; the Sept. 3 shooting of the man who was held up in that robbery after he reportedly recognized the pair and tried to take photos of them; the Sept. 3 holdup of a Florin Road fried chicken restaurant; and the Sept. 3 theft of a minivan from a Regiona Transit light-rail station authorities believe was the getaway car in the restaurant stick-up.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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