Trial Ordered in Botched Backpack Murder

Trial ordered in botched backpack robbery slaying

A man has been ordered to stand trial in a South Philadelphia shooting death that authorities said stemmed from a botched backpack robbery.

A municipal judge on Tuesday held murder, robbery, theft and weapons charges against 21-year-old Tyreek McNeil for trial.

Police allege that McNeil rode up to 22-year-old Jose Gabino-Aparicio on a bicycle in the pre-dawn hours of Sept. 26 and demanded his backpack. Investigators said a struggle began and three shots were fired that struck the victim in the back.

Investigators said that Gabino-Aparicio was returning home when he was killed.

"The reality is that my husband will never walk through that door. Our youngest son will never know his father," said Gabino-Aparicio's wife Dionica Hernandez in the hours after his death.

A prosecution witness testified Tuesday that McNeil told him and several other friends that he was responsible. Assistant District Attorney Gwenn Cujdik alleged that the defendant “bragged about it.”

Defense attorney Francis Carmen attacked the credibility of the witness, suggesting that he was trying to deflect suspicion from himself.

Hernandez says her 22-year-old husband was walking with a friend when they stopped at his brother-in-law's bakery at 8th and Watkins Streets to get bread for the family's breakfast.

"He would always go by there to get us some bread so we would have enough food to eat," she said in Spanish.

McNeil is no stranger to the law. According to online court records, He pleaded guilty to a weapons charge in 2010 and received two years probation as well as counseling and being ordered to obtain his GED.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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