MIAMI – The mother of the 17-year-old who is suspected of shooting another teen attending a Halloween party told a judge Thursday that she had been trying for three years to get her son help.
Josue Cao's mother, Vivian Cao, speaking in Spanish at Thursday's court hearing, said that she wanted to have the court institutionalize her son in an effort to have him stop using drugs and get psychiatric treatment. She said that never happened.
The state is considering charging the 17-year-old as an adult in the fatal shooting of Angel Cueli. The judge ordered that Cao be kept in custody as attorneys for the state determine whether the teenager will be charged as an adult for allegedly murdering Cueli, a 15-year-old student at Miami Coral Park Senior High School.
Alfred Cueli told Local 10's Ian Margol that it was his son's friends who flooded detectives with tips, which led to the arrest of Matthew Hernandez and Marcos Gonzalez, both 18, and Cao.
Cao, an alleged gang member, apparently went to the party Saturday where he spotted members of a rival gang. Police say he then called Hernandez and Gonzalez to drive him by the home on Southwest 132nd Avenue. Police say while Gonzalez was driving, Cao and Hernandez began shooting at the home. The only person hit was Cueli who police say was not part of the gang and wasn't the intended target.
Despite speaking in court Thursday, Cao's mother told reporters, "No tenemos nada que hablar." ("We have nothing to say.")
Cao is facing a second-degree murder charge, and two other felony charges: discharging a firearm from a vehicle, and tampering with an electronic device. Hernadez is charged with second-degree murder and discharging a firearm from a vehicle. Gonzalez, who was allegedly driving the car, is charged with second-degree murder. Hernandez and Gonzalez are being held without bail.
The law states that a juvenile can be held for up to 21 days before a decision is made whether he pr sje will be charged as a juvenile or an adult.
"The court has reviewed the file and finds probable cause," a state attorney told the judge.
Sentencing differences between adult and juvenile cases are significant. Adult sentencing can be more severe, and the juvenile may have to serve time in adult jail or prison, rather than in a juvenile detention center.