SAN JOSE -- Police have arrested an eighth suspect in the savage beating death of a 14-year-old boy last April in Roosevelt Park.
Officers on Thursday arrested Joe Chavarria, 31, of San Jose. He had been wanted in connection with the killing and had been hiding in an apartment on the 200 block of East Dunne Avenue in Morgan Hill, according to Officer Jose Garcia, a San Jose police spokesman.
Seven other people were arrested in October and have been charged with the murder of Heriberto Reyes, who was an eighth-grader at Bernal Intermediate School in South San Jose. Three are young adults and four were teenagers at the time of the crime but will be tried as adults.
Prosecutors have added a gang enhancement to the charges, alleging that the killing was done to benefit a criminal street gang.
According to police, Heriberto went to Roosevelt Park, at East Santa Clara and 24th streets, about 6:45 p.m. on April 27 to play basketball with several family members and friends. The group was confronted by several people, who asked Heriberto if he was a gang member. 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, police said. Heriberto was surrounded by six to 10 people when he was punched in the face, then hit and kicked while he was on the ground. A male family member tried to come
Heriberto was taken to Regional Medical Center with massive head injuries and died three days later.
The seven suspects arrested in October are also facing charges of attempted murder for the beating of one of Heriberto's family members.
If convicted, the suspects could be sentenced to life in prison, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.
Those arrested before include James Vincent Conklin, who is now 18 but was 17 at the time of the crime; Jacob Jimmie Lynch, 17; Ruben Becerra, 16; Clemente Salas, 16; Michael Conway, 19; Angel Garcia Lamas and Javier Lamas Hernandez, both 20.
Contact Sharon Noguchi at 408-271-3775. Follow her at Twitter.com/NoguchiOnK12.