Judge orders man accused in '01 Daly City murder to stand trial 

A San Mateo County Superior Court judge has ruled there is enough evidence to bring a man who evaded police for eight years to trial for the murder of a Daly City high school student in 2001.

Erick Morales, 28, was held to answer to all charges at the conclusion of his preliminary hearing Tuesday, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Morales is one of two men accused in connection with the fatal stabbing of 15-year-old Quetzalcoatl Alba on May 21, 2001. He is charged with murder, with the special circumstance of lying in wait.

Morales and his then-roommate Reynaldo Maldanado, 30, were the last people seen with Alba that day but both denied involvement in the murder, police said.

Both Morales, who was a classmate of Alba's, and Maldanado fled the area after being interviewed by police.

Maldanado was apprehended Oct. 15, 2007, in Miami, where he had been living under an assumed identity, according to police. Detectives tracked him there after executing a search warrant at the former home of Morales and Maldanado, where they found what they believed was the murder weapon and other physical evidence in the backyard.

Morales, however, remained at large for two more years until he was pulled over Oct. 12, 2009, in Long Island, N.Y., on suspicion of driving under the influence, Daly City police Lt. Jay Morena said.

He allegedly gave authorities a false name after he was pulled over and it wasn't until his fingerprints were checked that police realized he was wanted for Alba's murder.

Morales was extradited back to California later that month.

Morales is scheduled to return to court March 30 for his superior court arraignment. Maldanado, who is also charged with murder with the special circumstance of lying in wait, has a status conference scheduled for April 6. Each is being held without bail.

Both men are believed to have participated in the killing, but it remains unclear who inflicted the fatal stab wound, Wagstaffe said. The San Mateo County District Attorney's Office has not yet decided whether to try the two together.

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