SAN JOSE -- Four teenage boys arrested in the gang-related beating death of a 14-year-old boy in Roosevelt Park in April will be tried as adults and if convicted, could be sentenced to life in prison, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.
Papers filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court show prosecutors have charged James Vincent Conklin, who is now 18 but was 17 at the time of the crime; Jacob Jimmie Lynch, 17; Ruben Becerra, 16; and Clemente Salas, 16, with murder as adults in the death of Heriberto Reyes, who suffered massive head injuries and died three days after the beating.
Except for Conklin, the names of the four had not been released before because they are minors. This newspaper does not normally identify juveniles charged with crimes except in cases involving killings and some other serious crimes.
In all, seven people have been charged with murder in connection with the brutal attack on Heriberto on April 27 near the basketball courts at Roosevelt Park on the outskirts of downtown.
Also charged with murder are: Michael Conway, 19, Angel Garcia Lamas and Javier Lamas Hernandez, both 20.
All seven suspects are also facing charges of attempted murder for the beating of one of Heriberto's male family members who attempted to come to his aid, according to police and court documents. Prosecutors have added a gang enhancement to the charges, alleging the killing was done to benefit a criminal street gang.
San Jose police say Heriberto -- who was an eighth-grader at Bernal Intermediate School in South San Jose -- went to Roosevelt Park at about 6:45 p.m. on April 27 to play basketball with several family members and friends, according to a police statement of facts obtained by this newspaper. When Heriberto and another boy walked onto the basketball court area, they were confronted by several people. The group asked Heriberto if he was a gang member, according to police. Heriberto was wearing baggy shorts, white socks, black shoes, a white T-shirt and a dark blue New York Yankees baseball cap.
Some of the assailants pulled up Heriberto's T-shirt to see if he had any tattoos, according to police. Heriberto was surrounded by six to 10 people when he was punched in the face, a blow that sent him to the ground. A male family member tried to come to his aid but was also attacked by two to three people, according to police. The family member was eventually knocked unconscious.
Once Heriberto fell to the ground the suspects that had been surrounding him moved in and started to punch and kick him, according to police. Witnesses and friends of Heriberto's attempted to stop the assault but were threatened by other suspects to not get involved or they would also be assaulted, according to the police statement of facts.
When the fight was over, all the people that were around Reyes took off, according to the statement of facts. A family member took Heriberto to Regional Medical Center, where he was treated for massive head injuries.
Contact Mark Gomez at 408-920-5869. Follow him on Twitter @MarkMgomez