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Pair plead not guilty to allegedly killing woman to prevent her from testifying

Alexis Daniel Rosas AND Maury Duarte

A man and woman accused in the murder of an 18-year-old Victorville resident who was dumped on a Coachella roadside, allegedly to keep her from testifying in a criminal case, entered not guilty pleas today to a slate of charges for which they must now stand trial.

Alexis Daniel Rosas of San Diego and Maury Duarte of Indio were arrested on June 30, 2019, in connection with the shooting death of Makayla Jean Massey, whose body was discovered five days earlier on the shoulder of Avenue 53 between Monroe Street and Jackson Street.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Burke Strunsky accepted the defendants' pleas and scheduled a trial-readiness conference for Oct. 13.

They were ordered to stand trial last month following a preliminary hearing in which Judge John Monterosso found that rosecutors had presented sufficient evidence to proceed with the case.

Rosas, 24, is accused of shooting Massey, and Duarte, 29, is accused of harboring and aiding Rosas. Both defendants are charged with murder.

Makayla Jean Massey

Rosas also faces a special circumstance allegation of killing the witness of a crime, making him eligible for the death penalty if convicted, although Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin has not yet announced whether his office will pursue capital punishment in the case.

Rosas is additionally charged with the attempted murder of a man identified only by his first name in the complaint, which does not list the date or any other details of that alleged crime.

Court records show Rosas is also currently facing misdemeanor charges of obstructing an officer, making counterfeit money and identity theft.

Rosas remains jailed at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta without bail, and Duarte is being held at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning in lieu of $1 million bail.

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