Maldonado pleads not guilty in 2001 slaying

A man accused of fatally stabbing a Daly City high school student in 2001, then jumping from an airport parking structure to flee from authorities when he was extradited to the Bay Area last month, pleaded not guilty to murder Wednesday.

Prosecutors dropped an additional charge against 28-year-old Reynaldo Maldonado of being an accessory to the crime, because the charge’s six-year statute of limitations had expired, Deputy District Attorney Al Giannini said.

The additional count would not have added any time onto Maldonado’s possible sentence, Giannini said. Maldonado faces 25 years to life for the murder of 15-year-old Quetzacoatl Alba.

Alba, a student at Westmoor High School, was found dead in an apartment building storage room on May 21, 2001. Daly City police say Maldonado and his former roommate, Erick Morales, lived in the building. On Oct. 11, a tip led police back to the crime scene, where they found a knife, bloody clothing and Alba’s cell phone in their former backyard.

On Wednesday, defense attorney Paul De Meester said he believes Morales stabbed Alba to death and if Maldonado is guilty of anything, it is of being an accessory after the fact.

Morales, who is also a suspect in the killing, is still at large. Maldonado was arrested in Miami earlier this year. On Oct. 20, after being extradited to California, a handcuffed Maldonado jumped from a 20-foot parking structure at San Francisco International Airport. He was seriously injured in the escape attempt, but has recovered, his lawyer said.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Maldonado on Dec. 26 at 9 a.m. Deputy District Attorney Al Giannini asked that the trial take place in Redwood City as opposed to South San Francisco, where it would normally be held, because Maldonado is considered a flight risk.

tbarak@examiner.com

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