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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Bail set at $5 million for alleged Swain Drive shooter


    The 19-year-old Lodi police say killed a woman in South Lodi in 2007 appeared in court Wednesday, and a family member contended the young man has an alibi.

    Raymond Mercado did not enter a plea to charges of murder with a firearm, committing a crime to benefit a street gang and two misdemeanors. When asked if he could afford an attorney to represent him, Mercado seemed confused about how to answer until a family member spoke up from the gallery and said they’d provide a lawyer.

    The case was continued to Monday afternoon for further arraignment. Bail was set at $5.01 million.

    Mercado’s aunt, Audrey Marino, has vigorously proclaimed Mercado’s innocence. She said she was Mercado’s guardian at the time of the alleged murder, and did not allow any gang affiliations in her household. The night in question, Oct. 4, 2007, Mercado was asleep in her home and never left the house, Marino said.

    Police believe Mercado was seeking revenge for a gang-related fight the night of the shooting, and mistakenly fired into the wrong home in the 100 block of Swain DriveGeorgia Perez, 49, of Visalia, was killed in the incident while visiting her grandson.

    Although Mercado was 15 at the time, county Deputy District Attorney Mark Ott said he will be tried as an adult.

    Marino said the family was talking to a prospective attorney, and didn’t want to say too much about the case, per the lawyer’s advice. She said Mercado was doing well in his life recently, and was raising an infant son.

    “”It hurts my heart so bad for that poor guy,”” Marino said. “”He’s got a family … and he’s been taking care of what he needs to take care of.””

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