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2010 murder suspect to be in court Jan. 18
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The man who allegedly shot to death a 20-year-old motorist in broad daylight at a well-traveled Ceres intersection back on Jan. 11, 2010 will be in court on Jan. 28 to stand trial for murder.

The trial could be averted, however, if a plea bargain deal is reached between Primitivo Guizar and prosecutors. He is scheduled to be present for a pretrial hearing on Jan. 18.

Amadeo Avalos, 20, of Modesto, was fatally shot in late morning on Jan. 11, 2010 as he was driving eastbound on Whitmore Avenue as he approached Morgan Road. The shooter rolled up to the passenger side of Avalos' red Chevy pickup, fired multiple rounds at Avalos through the window, and fled. The pickup with a mortally wounded Avalos rolled forward and crashed into a chain-link fence at the southeast corner of Whitmore and Morgan. Avalos was dead when police arrived.

At a 2010 Stanislaus County Superior Court preliminary hearing, prosecutor Jared Carrillo said Avalos' murder was hatched by a family victimized in a home invasion robbery in south Modesto. The robbery, staged two days before the Ceres shooting, resulted in the loss of jewelry and other valuables totaling an estimated $250,000.Patricia Avalos, sister of the homicide victim, was convicted in April 2010 of holding a gun on the Sanchez family during the Jan. 9, 2010 home invasion robbery.

It's believed that Amadeo Avalos was not a participant in his sister's robbery but was targeted by a Sureño gang member as a way of exacting retribution for his sister being involved.

A number of people were being prosecuted in the brazen murder, including accused gunman Guizar. He faces charges of first-degree murder with three gun enhancements and the special circumstance of lying in wait.

Others charged are: Heliberto Sanchez Guizar, as an accessory to murder; Luis Sanchez and Rosa Sanchez, a Modesto couple also alleged accessories to murder; and Enrique Valadez, a family friend who allegedly drove the shooter's vehicle.

Plea bargain deals were made with Valadez, who avoided a trial for first-degree murder with a gun enhancement and the special circumstance of lying in wait by pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter.

Lucila Sanchez, of Ceres, who allegedly drove a vehicle behind Avalos' red pickup moments before the attack, plea-bargained with a voluntary manslaughter charge as well.

Luis and Rosa Sanchez are the parents of Lucila Sanchez, and Heliberto and Primitivo Guizar.

After the robbery, members of the victimized family gathered to formulate a plan to get back the stolen items from the perpetrators, said Carrillo. When the six were unsuccessful in retrieving the property, talk turned to murder, he said.