A trial for two people
accused of helping a man murder a Newark high school student was delayed on Friday, according
to Alameda County criminal court records.
Rafael Tovar, 32, and his half sister Daniela Guzman, 19, were charged with plotting to murder 17-year old Justice Afoa as retaliation for beating up their friend, Daniel Howard, at a house party.
All three are members of the Norteño gang, according to the district attorney’s office.
Daniel Howard, a 31-year-old trucker from Fremont, was convicted in May 2013 of fatally stabbing Afoa. The murder happened near the intersection of Cedar Boulevard and Birch Street in Newark at about 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2010.
Afoa was a defensive lineman at Newark Memorial High School and made second team all-league in the Mission Valley Athletic League in the 2009 season.
Prosecutors say that on the day of Afoa’s murder, Tovar and Howard talked on the phone 20 minutes before the fatal incident. Deputy District Attorney Elgin Lowe told Patch that the trio planned the attack via text messages. Guzman and Howard are said to have texted each other Afoa’s location several times between Sept. 12 and Dec. 15, 2010.
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.
Five days later, police found the high school senior bleeding of apparent stab wounds. Afoa was pronounced dead at the scene.
Guzman and Tovar were arrested a days later after two of three suspects confessed to taking part in the 2010 stabbing, according to Newark Police Cmdr. Michael Carroll.
Howard is appealing the conviction. Tovar and Guzman are now scheduled to appear in court on January 8, 2014.