Suspect in fatal stabbing of teen pleads not guilty

A man accused of fatally stabbing a 16-year-old boy as the boy filmed a street fight earlier this month near San Francisco’s Excelsior District remains hospitalized for injuries he suffered that night, his attorney said Tuesday.

Sergio Rocha, 38, has been charged with murder for the Dec. 1 fatal stabbing of Josue Mejia-Sanchez.

Although Rocha has undergone two surgeries and remains in the intensive care unit, he was arraigned on Monday at the hospital and pleaded not guilty, according to Public Defender Elizabeth Camacho.

Camacho called Mejia-Sanchez’s death tragic, but said in a statement that Rocha “is an innocent victim who suffered a serious attack on his life by a number of unidentified assailants.

“One measure of this is that Mr. Rocha stayed on the scene of his attack, awaiting police and medical care. By contrast, the still-unknown assailants fled the scene in a car,” she said.

According to court documents, the incident began when Rocha and his friend, a 48-year-old man, were walking near Mission Street and two younger males allegedly attacked Rocha’s friend, prompting a fistfight between Rocha’s friend and one of the unidentified aggressors.

As the two were rolling on the ground and exchanging blows, more young males began to surrounded them, including Mejia-Sanchez, who was now filming the fight with his phone, prosecutors said.

Rocha, armed with a knife, then pushed another member of the group back and allegedly plunged the knife into the neck of an unsuspecting Mejia-Sanchez.

Afterward, Rocha allegedly began swinging the knife at other members of the group. One of the young males, however, stabbed Rocha in the chest while another hurled a beer bottle at Rocha’s head, causing Rocha to collapse and hit his head on concrete.

Rocha’s friend was able to come to his aid and pull him up and the two fled to a restaurant near Geneva Avenue and Mission Street.

Around this time, the group of young assailants who appeared to be friends of Mejia-Sanchez loaded the injured teen into a car and dropped him off at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, but he was already dead.

Emergency personnel responded to the restaurant where Rocha and his friend allegedly fled to and transported them to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where Rocha underwent surgery for his injuries.

After his surgery, court documents said, investigators confronted him about Mejia-Sanchez’s killing with video surveillance from the area. Rocha allegedly initially denied having a knife, but later admitted to it. He said didn’t intend to hurt anyone.

The involved young men have yet to come forward and have not been identified.

Rocha is scheduled for a hearing Jan. 10, 2019.

-Daniel Montes, Bay City NewsCrime

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