Tucson defendant didn't fire fatal shot, lawyer says

2013-03-20T00:00:00Z 2013-03-29T10:14:06Z Tucson defendant didn't fire fatal shot, lawyer saysVeronica M. Cruz Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 20, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The lawyer for a man being retried for the first-degree murder of a teen girl 12 years ago offered jurors another scenario for how the girl died, one his client had no role in.

Max Montijo LaMadrid, 36, is accused of shooting Tanee Natividad in the early morning of Nov. 18, 2001, as she and a friend were driving away from Jack in the Box near East Speedway and North Swan Road.

Attorneys for both sides agree Natividad was the passenger in a Ford Mustang driven by Terrence Gooden. The pair were at the drive-through of the fast food restaurant when a fight broke out between two groups of people. During the altercation, Alfredo "Junior" Gonzalez, a friend of LaMadrid's was shot and killed.

Deputy Pima County Attorney Mark Diebolt told jurors LaMadrid then got out of his red truck, walked toward Speedway and began shooting at eastbound traffic intending to shoot the person who shot his friend.

One of those bullets went through the rear windshield of the Mustang and struck Natividad in the back of the head, Diebolt said. Six .40-caliber bullet casings found near the scene were linked to a gun found in LaMadrid's truck.

But defense attorney Dan Cooper argued "Max shot that gun ... but his bullets weren't the ones that shot this child."

A warrant was issued for LaMadrid's arrest the day after Natividad died, but he wasn't arrested until October 2010 when Mexican authorities found him in Hermosillo.

In a September 2012 trial, LaMadrid was convicted of shooting at an occupied structure, but the jury could not reach a unanimous decision on the murder charge and a mistrial was declared.

Cooper contends the Palo Verde High School student was shot in separate incident shortly after the shooting at Jack in the Box.

Witnesses heard arguing, cars screeching and gunshots, and bullet casings were found in a nearby neighborhood, Cooper said.

Natividad was shot in a gunbattle between Gooden and other men in that neighborhood, Cooper said.

Witnesses told police they saw a man in a white SUV get into a confrontation with Gooden, Cooper said.

Police lost, misplaced or failed to collect evidence, including looking for that vehicle, Cooper said.

Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at vcruz@azstarnet.com or at 573-4224.

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