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Sides Rest Their Cases In 12-Year-Old’s Murder Trial Second Boy Accused Of Shooting Migrant Worker Doesn’t Testify In His Own Defense

Both sides rested their cases Thursday in the first-degree murder trial of a 12-year-old boy accused in the August slaying of a migrant worker.

Judge John Bridges said he will rule immediately after closing arguments this morning in the case of Manuel Sanchez.

Sanchez chose not to testify in his own defense Thursday, the second day of his trial in Chelan County Juvenile Court. After court recessed, defense attorney Tom Caballero declined to respond to reporters’ questions about the decision to keep the boy off the stand.

Sanchez’s co-defendant John Duncan, also 12, was convicted Monday of first-degree murder in the death of Emilio Pruneda, who was shot more than 18 times Aug. 20 near his makeshift campsite on the banks of the Columbia River.

Duncan, who did testify at his three-day trial, could be sent to a detention center until he is 21 when he is sentenced Jan. 20.

Most of the testimony during Sanchez’s trial was identical to that offered in Duncan’s case. Both boys are being treated as juveniles and Bridges presided at both trials.

Three prosecution witnesses testified Thursday:

Laurie Jeffrey, who said the boys tried to break into her home a few days before the slaying. She said she saw Duncan and Sanchez in her back yard shortly after she woke up to the sound of breaking glass. She found her phone lines had been cut and her motion detector lights unscrewed.

William Ott, who testified that the guns used in the slaying were stolen from his house.

Edward Robinson, a state police expert on firearms who tested those guns and identified the bullets found in Pruneda’s body as coming from them.

Deputy Prosecutor Gordon Edgar said he was satisfied with how Sanchez’s trial had progressed.

The evidence appeared more conclusive in Duncan’s trial, where police officers testified about seeing Duncan handling the guns and aiming toward Pruneda’s unmoving body.

None saw Sanchez holding any of the three stolen guns.

And Coroner Gerald Rappe testified during Duncan’s trial that he was responsible for the fatal shots to the heart.