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Justice Afoa Case: Judge Says Suspects Planned Murder for Months

The three suspects arrested in the 2010 slaying of Newark teen Justice Afoa were said to have acted for the benefit of a street gang, according to a complaint read in court Wednesday.

The three suspects arrested in connection with the 2010 slaying of 17-year-old Justice Afoa were said to have planned his murder for months, according to a complaint read in court Wednesday afternoon.

Newark residents Rafael Tovar, 32, and Daniela Guzman, 19, who is Tovar's half-sister, along with Fremont resident Daniel Howard, 31, appeared at the Hayward Hall of Justice for their arraignments at about 3:30 p.m. via a live video feed from Santa Rita Jail.

The three face charges of murder and felony conspiracy to commit murder with gang enhancements.

Guzman, who was 17 at the time of the murder, will be tried as an adult. She cried during the court room broadcast.

According to the district attorney’s office, all three are members of Norteno gangs.

A complaint read in court by Judge Gary Picetti alleges that both Tovar and Howard stabbed Justice, and that the three suspects conspired for months to kill Justice after Tovar was beaten up at a house party in September 2010.

According to Deputy District Attorney Elgin Lowe, the suspected trio sent several text messages between Sept. 12 and Dec. 15, 2010 planning an attack on Justice.

Guzman and Howard were said to have texted Justice’s whereabouts to Tovar several times during that span of time.

On Dec. 10, 2010, Tovar received a text message from an unnamed individual that read, “What’s up with that murder?” according to documents read in court.

According to to the documents, Guzman confronted Justice in front of a church on Dec. 11, 2010 just days before his murder telling him that “he was going to get his.”

On Dec. 15, 2010, the day of Justice’s murder, Tovar and Howard exchanged calls 20 minutes before the fatal stabbing, according to the complaint. Howard drove from Fremont and arrived in Newark at 3:30 p.m. The murder was reported 10 minutes later.

Police responded to Cedar Boulevard at Birch Street around 3:40 p.m. and found the high school senior bleeding of apparent stab wounds. Justice, who was a defensive lineman on the Newark Memorial High School varsity football team, was pronounced dead at the scene.

At least two male suspects in hooded sweatshirts were seen running from the scene, but no arrests were made until earlier this week.

Guzman and Tovar were arrested Monday after two of three suspects confessed to taking part in the 2010 stabbing, according to Newark Police Cmdr. Michael Carroll.

Howard was re-arrested in connection to the 2010 slaying after he was interviewed by officers in jail, where he was being held on an attempted murder charge that stemmed from a Nov. 25 incident in Fremont.

Both Howard and Tovar have several prior felonies. 

All three suspects are expected to appear in court for plea and counsel Monday morning at 9 a.m. in Dept. 502.

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ificandream December 16, 2012 at 02:56 PM
I'm glad they caught these guys. It saddened me every time I drove by the murder site.
Joe dirt December 22, 2012 at 08:39 PM
People how come u guys get like that when inesent people get blame for something. What about those cops that taken innocent peoples life what about those family's thoose family's need there justice why dnt the community work hard to prosecute all those raises inesent suvilence killing cops Oscar grant the guy I'n Fremont an Hayward our court need to prosecute those people are the ones who deserve justice an they family cops that kill need to be out our streets cause they bigger threats to our society an community then any one else hope the day when people ain't. Scared of cops an they put away all thoose murders called cops away will be when our society an community be safe.
StreetWatchDogg December 23, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Cowards!!!!
Luis Gonzalez January 29, 2013 at 04:37 AM
Newark PD, Thank you all of you . I take my hat off !
April July 23, 2013 at 03:13 PM
If anyone gets a Jury Summons, make sure you answer! I would LOVE to be on one of the juries!!!

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