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Preliminary hearing for murder suspects to continue today

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Posted: Monday, October 17, 2011 7:25 pm | Updated: 6:03 am, Tue Oct 18, 2011.

Amera Addi, acquitted of murdering a Visalia woman visiting Lodi in 2007, testified Monday about what happened the day the woman was shot to death in a southeast Lodi duplex.

Addi, who was co-defendant Daniel Ramirez’s girlfriend in 2007, described a trip to the Bay Area she said she and Ramirez took on Oct. 4, 2007, the day Georgina Perez was shot to death while visiting her grandson in a Swain Drive duplex.

Ramirez, now 26, and Raymond Mercado, who was 15 at the time, are charged with Perez’s murder. Their preliminary hearing, which began Monday, could last all week, according to Stockton attorney John Soldati, who is representing Ramirez.

After the hearing is completed, Superior Court Judge Edward Lacy will rule on whether there is enough evidence for Ramirez and Mercado to stand trial. Both men are in custody at San Joaquin County Jail, with bail set at $5 million.

Mercado is accused of firing into the window of a duplex on Swain Drive in Lodi, killing Perez, who was visiting her grandson, who was 4 years old at the time and is now 8. In addition to murder, Mercado is charged with murder with a firearm and committing a crime to benefit a street gang.

Ramirez is charged with street terrorism, gang activity and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Addi, who was convicted in 2009 by a jury of being an accessory after the fact in Perez’s murder, was asked to reconstruct what happened the day Perez was shot to death.

During Monday’s opening day of what could be a week-long preliminary hearing, she testified that she drove to the Bay Area with Ramirez, her mother and another person on Oct. 4, 2007. They returned to Lodi at 5 or 6 p.m., Addi said. She and Ramirez had dinner and played cards during the early evening before going for a ride into the country outside Lodi, Addi testified.

Addi was the driver, but Ramirez, a passenger, had consumed a lot of beer prior to the shooting, she said.

Perez’s daughter-in-law, Beatrice Gonzalez, came with her husband from their Bakersfield home for the preliminary hearing along with one of Perez’s sisters.

“She was a nice lady; everybody loved her,” Gonzalez told the News-Sentinel. “If you knew her cooking, you’d love her, too.”

The hearing is scheduled to continue at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in Dept. 33 at the Stockton courthouse.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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