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15-year-old boy's manslaughter trial tentatively set Feb. 14

YAKIMA - The trial of a Lower Valley teen for his involvement in the death of his 11-year-old cousin is tentatively set to start Feb. 14, but that could change, said Yakima County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Bill Eller.

Antonio Aguilar, who just turned 15 years old, faces first degree manslaughter and second degree unlawful possession of a firearm charges, said Eller. Eller said Aguilar will be tried as a juvenile because his case doesn't meet the state standards for trying him as an adult.

Aguilar had a pre-trial hearing yesterday (Wednesday) in Yakima.

The charges against Aguilar stem from a shooting on Oct. 28, 2004 involving Aguilar and his 11-year-old cousin, Nora Gonzalez. The two youngsters were at his residence on South Fourth Street in Sunnyside during school hours. Aguilar, who was 14 years old when the incident occurred, is believed to have shot Gonzalez in the forehead. The Sunnyside 11-year-old girl later died from the gunshot wound at Harborview Medical Center.

Aguilar was released from the Yakima County Juvenile Detention Center in mid-November on $10,000 bail.

At Wednesday's pre-trial hearing, Eller said it was determined that the state would need more time to obtain necessary documents associated with the case. Eller said that information includes reports from the Sunnyside EMS service.

Eller said the defense also asked for Aguilar to undergo a mental health evaluation, which could take some time.

"If that raises any issues, the state has the right to do its own evaluation," said Eller.

"We want the trial to go on the 14th," said Eller. "But the court was not very confident the 14th would (work), but left it (on the court agenda)."

Eller said while the trial date is still set for Feb. 14, another pre-trial hearing will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. at the county courthouse. At the Feb. 8 hearing it will be determined if the case will actually go to trial on Feb. 14.

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