MURRIETA ( — A 20-year-old parolee and two teenagers were charged with first-degree murder Tuesday in connection to the stabbing death of a 16-year-old East Hemet boy.

Francisco Roy Zavala, Francisco Siordia, 17, and Joseph Venegas, 15, also face a special circumstance allegation of killing during the commission of a robbery.

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Eric Sargeant Jr., a student at Hemet High School, was stabbed multiple times Jan. 14 near the intersection of Acacia Avenue and Cherrywood Drive because he refused to hand over his cellphone to the suspects, according to investigators.

The victim was transported to the hospital, but died five hours later.

The District Attorney’s Office decided to prosecute Siordia and Venegas as adults, but they will not face capital punishment if they’re found guilty of the crime.

Zavala, however, is eligible for the death penalty if he’s convicted.

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The suspects remain jailed without bail.


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