Sep 302010

A Fresno man will stand trial in the shooting death of a man suspected of stealing medical marijuana plants from a backyard garden, a judge said Wednesday in Fresno County Superior Court.

Judge Edward Sarkisian Jr. made his ruling after three Fresno police officers and two homicide detectives testified at Phayvanh Dydouangphan’s preliminary hearing, the Fresno Bee reports.

Dydouangphan, 47, fatally shot Stanley Wallace on Sept. 8 as Wallace and six other people drove away in a pickup from a marijuana garden at Dydouangphan’s home near Roeding Park, police said.

Wallace was hit in the head by a shotgun blast. He died two days later.

Sarkisian ordered Dydouangphan to stand trial on charges of murder, assault with a deadly weapon and shooting at an occupied vehicle. Dydouangphan, who is being held in the Fresno County Jail, will be arraigned Oct. 13.

During the hearing, officer David Lambert and detective Ray Villalvazo said a witness to the shooting told them of a plan — hatched by Wallace and at least five other men — to steal the marijuana plants.

Wallace and two men and two women arrived at Dydouangphan’s home at 919 W. Belmont Ave. across from Roeding Park in a red pickup truck, Lambert said. Three or four men arrived in a van, the officer said.

While the two women stayed with the pickup truck, the men broke down a section of the backyard’s wooden fence, Lambert testified. They then began uprooting the marijuana plants and throwing them in the back of the pickup, the officer said.

As they were doing this, gunfire erupted, Lambert said.

The group quickly jumped into the red pickup and drove off, Villalvazo said.

As the truck traveled east on Belmont Avenue, Wallace was hit by “double-ought buckshot” as he sat in the front passenger seat, the detective said. The shotgun blast also shattered the passenger window and damaged the windshield, he said.

The shooting was reported to police around 6:40 a.m. by city workers who found a bloody Wallace in the pickup at Roeding Park. Everyone but one woman in the truck had left before police arrived. “He appeared to be grasping for his last breaths,” Lambert testified.

Lambert said Wallace had a claw hammer in one of his pockets. He also said pot plants were found near the pickup.

Fresno police officer John DeLuca testified that Dydouangphan told him after the shooting: “They rob. I shoot.” DeLuca said Dydouangphan answered his questions and led him to a shotgun in a bedroom. DeLuca seized the shotgun as evidence.

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