Local News

Wednesday, Jan 02 2013 07:50 PM

Mistrial declared in case of man charged with murder of 2-year-old

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

A mistrial was declared Wednesday in the murder trial of Joshuae Preston after jurors deadlocked 11 to 1 for not guilty.

Deputy Public Defender Paul Cadman said Preston has always said he didn't commit the crime, and he will continue to fight for his freedom.

"He would never harm anybody's child and he has asserted his innocence from the moment he was arrested in 2009, and it's encouraging that 11 of our fellow citizens agreed with him," Cadman said.

The attorney added that Preston considered the death of 2-year-old Guillermo Alvarez to be a great personal tragedy because he loved the child as if he was his own son.

Prosecutor David Zulfa declined to comment on his reaction to the jury's verdict because he anticipates the case will be re-tried. A hearing to reset the trial date is scheduled for Friday.

Alvarez died in 2009 of blunt force trauma, according to the coroner's office. Deputies have said Preston was the only adult caring for Alvarez and four other children while his girlfriend, Gina Serna, was at work.

The initial charges against Preston were dismissed in August 2009, but based on further investigation he was charged with murder and assault on a child under eight resulting in great bodily injury or death and arrested in early December 2010.

Preston, 32, has a minor criminal record of a peace disturbance in 2008, drunken driving in 2004 and driving without a license convictions in 2004 and 2003, according to court records.

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