Justice Afoa Case: Judge Says Suspects Planned Murder for Months

The three suspects arrested in the 2010 slaying of Newark teen Justice Afoa were said to have acted for the benefit of a street gang, according to a complaint read in court Wednesday.

The three suspects arrested in connection with the 2010 slaying of 17-year-old Justice Afoa were said to have planned his murder for months, according to a complaint read in court Wednesday afternoon.

Newark residents Rafael Tovar, 32, and Daniela Guzman, 19, who is Tovar's half-sister, along with Fremont resident Daniel Howard, 31, appeared at the Hayward Hall of Justice for their arraignments at about 3:30 p.m. via a live video feed from Santa Rita Jail.

The three face charges of murder and felony conspiracy to commit murder with gang enhancements.

Guzman, who was 17 at the time of the murder, will be tried as an adult. She cried during the court room broadcast.

According to the district attorney’s office, all three are members of Norteno gangs.

A complaint read in court by Judge Gary Picetti alleges that both Tovar and Howard stabbed Justice, and that the three suspects conspired for months to kill Justice after Tovar was beaten up at a house party in September 2010.

According to Deputy District Attorney Elgin Lowe, the suspected trio sent several text messages between Sept. 12 and Dec. 15, 2010 planning an attack on Justice.

Guzman and Howard were said to have texted Justice’s whereabouts to Tovar several times during that span of time.

On Dec. 10, 2010, Tovar received a text message from an unnamed individual that read, “What’s up with that murder?” according to documents read in court.

According to to the documents, Guzman confronted Justice in front of a church on Dec. 11, 2010 just days before his murder telling him that “he was going to get his.”

On Dec. 15, 2010, the day of Justice’s murder, Tovar and Howard exchanged calls 20 minutes before the fatal stabbing, according to the complaint. Howard drove from Fremont and arrived in Newark at 3:30 p.m. The murder was reported 10 minutes later.

Police responded to Cedar Boulevard at Birch Street around 3:40 p.m. and found the high school senior bleeding of apparent stab wounds. Justice, who was a defensive lineman on the Newark Memorial High School varsity football team, was pronounced dead at the scene.

At least two male suspects in hooded sweatshirts were seen running from the scene, but no arrests were made until earlier this week.

Guzman and Tovar were arrested Monday after two of three suspects confessed to taking part in the 2010 stabbing, according to Newark Police Cmdr. Michael Carroll.

Howard was re-arrested in connection to the 2010 slaying after he was interviewed by officers in jail, where he was being held on an attempted murder charge that stemmed from a Nov. 25 incident in Fremont.

Both Howard and Tovar have several prior felonies. 

All three suspects are expected to appear in court for plea and counsel Monday morning at 9 a.m. in Dept. 502.


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Rob Sorensen December 13, 2012 at 01:40 AM
I'm finding the use of the ALERT to be lacking in criteria. I define an alert as one needing immediate attention, i.e. trees down on Cedar Blvd, re-route one's travel. Also, a police action resulting in the local school being shut down. Good examples of the need for an alert. Poor examples, your current alert doesn't fit the immediate criteria. This will be covered on t.v. and newspaper. After a time, The Patch daily epistle is a tidy spot for update. But drip, drip, drip of lurid details about a tragedy don't warrant the reader's need for an alert.
Kalicia Duque December 13, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Really? Plenty of people have been waiting TWO YEARS for an update on this MURDER CASE. I think that three murderers off of Newark streets is plenty merit for an alert.
Maria December 13, 2012 at 03:37 AM
@Sorensen all I can say to you is WOW! You wouldn't be saying crap if this was your family that was taken but stupidity. I am glad that we meaning Newark can alert us on things that happen at that very moment or on something they a lot families have been waiting on closure. If it doesn't meet your criteria of alert don't waste your precious time and read it. Move on! It saddens me that one of the MURDERS ends up being someone that is one of our very own Newark resident that also attended ours schools here and I have had in a classroom. We always want what is best for our children and try to guide them in the right direction but for some damn reason they seem to think violence,gangs and etc. Are worth loosing their lives for. I know your momma didn't raise you to be a Murderer. How do you look into her eyes every day. Justice and his family got justice today and some closure. My heart and prayers go out to them.
Geoff Burton December 13, 2012 at 04:45 AM
I agree with you Rob. Instead of an Alert they can send out a Breaking News Alert for stories such as this and save the Alert heading for public safety and news that could effect people directly such as school lock downs, traffic detours gunman on the lose etc..
Geoff Burton December 13, 2012 at 04:49 AM
I am glad they have these three in custody, I had given up hope that Justice Afoa's killers would be caught. Well done to all the law enforcement professionals involved .
Honor December 13, 2012 at 06:24 AM
Tovar is behind this.
Honor December 13, 2012 at 06:24 AM
Tovar is behind this.
Tima Afoa December 13, 2012 at 06:37 AM
Its so easy to put up dumb comments when the article has nothing to do with you. As for me and my family, we finally have closure and my brother may REST IN PEACE. Thank you to all who have worked this case and also the people who prayed for us, we are ETERNALLY GRATEFUL.
Diamond December 13, 2012 at 07:22 AM
I was very happy to get this news alert and happier to learn that 3 cold blooded murderers were off the streets. I met Justice's beautiful family at the memorial in the days after his death, they held vigil at that spot for weeks. I pray for swift justice in this senseless loss of a beautiful young life. The family is in my prayers always..
Brash Brazen December 13, 2012 at 10:58 AM
Ironically these cretins will undoubtably end up getting stabbed to death in prison & it couldn't happen to two nicer guys (and the sooner it happens the less their imprisonment will cost the taxpayers) !
anonymous December 13, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Sorenson you are full of crap
Zinn December 13, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Does anyone know Tovar or Howard? How did they become so violent? What kind of families do they have?
johnny December 13, 2012 at 07:58 PM
It's funny...... <-- "not really" But I grew up with Danny And Raff ..Going to school with them any playing with them as kid's... They lived right down the street from me.... and i don't know why they were not caught sooner ...They were "Never" very smart and could be asked to do "anything" for a little of nothing... I'm kinda Shocked Their Friend "Gabriel Rojas" had nothing to do with it http://www.facebook.com/gabriel.rojas.98434
JOJO December 13, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Zinn - people make personal choices -
Big House December 14, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Thanks for the alert. At least we now know that our children are safe from these three criminals running around our streets. For two years? Thank God Justice Afoa finally has justice.
Zinn December 14, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Yeah JoJo but these were extremely violent choices. You don't usually go to that level unless you were a part of a very violent history..
jess December 14, 2012 at 01:25 AM
I'M so glad they are finally caught! Rest in love Justice!Much Ofas to your family!God bless!Thank you Newark police and authority for catching these heartless people.
ificandream December 16, 2012 at 02:56 PM
I'm glad they caught these guys. It saddened me every time I drove by the murder site.
Joe dirt December 22, 2012 at 08:39 PM
People how come u guys get like that when inesent people get blame for something. What about those cops that taken innocent peoples life what about those family's thoose family's need there justice why dnt the community work hard to prosecute all those raises inesent suvilence killing cops Oscar grant the guy I'n Fremont an Hayward our court need to prosecute those people are the ones who deserve justice an they family cops that kill need to be out our streets cause they bigger threats to our society an community then any one else hope the day when people ain't. Scared of cops an they put away all thoose murders called cops away will be when our society an community be safe.
StreetWatchDogg December 23, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Luis Gonzalez January 29, 2013 at 04:37 AM
Newark PD, Thank you all of you . I take my hat off !
April July 23, 2013 at 03:13 PM
If anyone gets a Jury Summons, make sure you answer! I would LOVE to be on one of the juries!!!


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