Araujo slaying suspect granted bail

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com January 10 2003 12:00 AM ET

New details on the murder of transgendered 17-year-old Gwen Araujo emerged Tuesday during a bail motion for defendant Michael Magidson, one of four young men charged with killing Araujo, reports The [Fremont, Calif.] Argus.

Deputy district attorney Connie Campbell said Magidson, 22, was the first to punch Araujo during an October 3 party at a home in Newark, Calif. Magidson also has admitted to detectives that he tied a rope around Araujo's neck, she said.

Superior court judge Dennis McLaughlin agreed to set bail, the amount of which he said he would set after the net worth of Magidson's parents is determined.

Magidson, of Fremont--along with Jose Merel, 23, of Newark; Jason Cazares, 22, of Fremont; and Jaron Nabors, 19, of Newark--is charged with murder in the slaying of Araujo. All four have pleaded innocent.

Araujo's body--still bound with ropes--was found October 16 in a shallow grave east of Placerville in the El Dorado County wilderness. Though the four defendants could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder, the killing does not meet the "special circumstances" required to make it a capital case. Judges are required to
consider bail motions in non-capital cases.