No attempted murder charge, but prison time for shooting suspect

Attempted murder charges were dropped against a Southern Oregon man who will spend three and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to burglary, menacing and weapons charges.

Jose Manuel Macias, 21, entered his plea agreement Tuesday before Jackson County Circuit Judge Tim Barnack, and was sentenced to two years in prison for robbing his mother's home, and an additional 18 months for charges related to what police describe as a gang-related shooting that occurred March 27 at a Medford apartment complex in the 700 block of Crater Lake Avenue.

Macias became one of Medford's most wanted after fleeing to California following the suspected gang shooting. Macias was subsequently found in Fresno, Calif., thanks to a nationwide computer system that tracks wanted suspects. He was returned to Medford in October, and held in the Jackson County Jail on $750,000 bail.

Macias pleaded guilty to a single count each of first-degree burglary, unlawful use of a weapon, menacing and reckless endangering. In exchange, the state dropped the attempted murder charge and the other lesser charges. However, since Macias' crimes involved a handgun, another weapons conviction would automatically result in a 10-year sentence, said Adam Peterson, a Jackson County prosecutor.

Peterson said the plea agreement was reached because no one was injured in the shooting. And also because although police found a shell casing at the scene, the bullet and the handgun were never recovered, Peterson said.

"We do know for a fact that he didn't hit anybody," Peterson said. "If he had injured anyone, we wouldn't have made this deal."

When police responded to the late-afternoon shooting, they found no victim or suspect. But investigators found a single shell casing at the scene, evidence of a shot being fired.

Police later determined the shooting was related to Norteño and Sureño gang activity. Investigators said several of the involved parties were uncooperative with the investigators. Police at first found no victim, but later determined that the alleged victim was a man named Toby Martinez. Police identified Macias as the shooter, and a grand jury in August arraigned Macias on the charges related to the March event.

"Gang cases are hard to prosecute because we don't have witnesses who are willing to testify," Peterson said

Peterson said Macias has a history of methamphetamine addiction. The burglary plea agreement was related to Macias' crime of breaking into his mother's home with an accomplice, stealing her big-screen television and causing other damage, he said.

"He trashed the place," Peterson said, adding Macias must pay restitution to his mother.

— Sanne Specht


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