Suspects in deadly stabbing face judge

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SAN DIEGO — Two defendants were charged with murder Tuesday in the stabbing death of a young man during a fight at a park in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, which prosecutors say stemmed from a dispute between local graffiti crews.

Marcus Spearman, 20, and David Valenzuela, 39, are accused in the April 8 slaying of 19-year-old Orlando Montoya at John F. Kennedy Park.

A third suspect, Cesar Diaz-Vasquez, who allegedly delivered the fatal blow, remains at large.

Another unidentified 19-year-old man was also stabbed in the melee, but no charges have been filed in relation to that victim.

According to Deputy District Attorney Chris Rhoads, the altercation began with a separate argument that occurred at an area taco shop between Valenzuela’s 16-year-old daughter and associates of Montoya’s, all of whom were members of tagging crews.

Rhoads said the dispute was over “cross-outs,” which is when graffiti artists paint over other artists’ work.

When Valenzuela’s daughter got into the dispute, the prosecutor said Valenzuela “started challenging the victim group” and was lifting up his shirt to show his tattoos, while Spearman reached into his waistband as though he was armed.

The groups later decided to meet for a fight a few blocks away at John F. Kennedy Park, according to the prosecutor, who said Montoya was not present for the initial dispute, but his associates summoned him for the ensuing fight. Valenzuela and Spearman allegedly went to another apartment to collect Diaz-Vasquez.

Rhoads alleged that Diaz-Vasquez and Spearman came to the fight armed with knives, while Valenzuela had a screwdriver.

Montoya suffered a single stab wound and was taken to a hospital, where he later died. The injured victim, whose name was not released, underwent treatment for non-life-threatening injuries, according to Lt. Matt Dobbs.

Following the fight, police arrived and found a knife that had Montoya and Diaz-Vasquez’s DNA on it, according to Rhoads. The prosecutor declined to comment on who may have stabbed the injured victim.

Rhoads said Valenzuela and his daughter fled to Wichita, Kansas for about a month following the stabbing.

Spearman and Valenzuela were arrested Thursday on suspicion of murder, Dobbs said, indicating that more arrests may follow.

Both men were being held on $2 million bail and slated to return to court June 20 for a status conference.

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