Nabors to get 11 years for role in Araujo's death
By Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News Service
August 24, 2006
HAYWARD (BCN) - The long legal saga of four young men
who were responsible for the brutal beating and strangulation
death of Newark transgender teenager Gwen Araujo nearly four years
ago is expected to end Friday with the sentencing of 23-year-old
Jaron Nabors of Newark.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Harry Sheppard will sentence
Nabors to 11 years in state prison. The sentence is in conjunction
with a plea agreement Nabors made with prosecutors on Feb. 25,
2003, in the middle of a preliminary hearing for all four defendants
in the closely-watched case.
The agreement called for Nabors to testify against the other
three men. He took the witness stand three times: once in the
preliminary hearing and once each during two lengthy trials of
the other men.
Araujo, 17, was born as a male named Eddie but presented herself
as a woman.
According to prosecutor Chris Lamiero, the four men killed Araujo
in the early morning hours of Oct. 4, 2002, following a night
of drinking and smoking marijuana when they discovered that the
beautiful woman they'd been socializing with for several months
actually was a biological male.
According to testimony in the two trials, Araujo had sexual relations
with all of the men except Cazares.
The incident sparked outrage among the transgender community
Nabors' testimony against the other three men outraged their
attorneys, who called him a snitch and a liar throughout the two
But Nabors' attorney, Annie Beles, said today that Nabors "explained
what happened that night before anyone else cracked" and
showed police where Araujo's body was buried in the El Dorado
County wilderness east of Placerville.
Beles said Nabors' statements to police are "the reason
the story came out in all of its horror."
She said Nabors plans to speak at his sentencing hearing and
"will take full responsibility for his role" in the
Lamiero said Araujo's family members "understand and appreciate
that Nabors was instrumental in the prosecution of the case."
Lamiero said Nabors received "a significant benefit for
his cooperation" because the other defendants were prosecuted
on murder charges and he was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser
charge of voluntary manslaughter.
But the prosecutor said Nabors' cooperation was "quite valuable."
Lamiero said Nabors was the only defendant "who expressed
remorse from the beginning and accepted responsibility for his
actions from the beginning."
Beles said Nabors will serve 85 percent of his 11-year sentence,
or 9.3 years, which means he will be released in about five-and-a-half
On Jan. 27, defendants Michael Magidson, 26, of Fremont, and
Jose Merel, 26, of Newark, received sentences of 15-years-to-life
because jurors at their second trial last year convicted them
of second-degree murder.
Jason Cazares, a 26-year-old Newark man, was sentenced on Jan.
27 to six years in state prison. He pleaded no contest to voluntary
manslaughter in December so he wouldn't have to risk a murder
conviction at a third trial.
Magidson and Merel will be eligible for parole in 15 years, but
few convicted murderers have been paroled by the state in recent
Jurors deadlocked on the fate of all three defendants at their
first trial in 2004. In the defendants' second trial, which ended
last Sept. 12, jurors deadlocked 9-3 in favor of convicting Cazares
of first-degree murder.
Cazares' attorney, Tony Serra, was extremely critical of Nabors
in the two trials, calling him "an ugly human being"
and a "pathological liar" and comparing him to a mackerel:
shiny on the outside and twisted, deformed and smelly on the inside.
Serra is now in federal prison, where he is serving a 10-month
sentence for his conviction for two misdemeanor counts of failing
to pay a total of $44,000 in taxes in 1998 and 1999.
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