An alleged gang member initially charged with murder in last month’s death of a Gainesville man run over by a car has been indicted on a lesser charge of vehicular homicide.
Juan “J-Juan” Villanueva, 18, faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, after a Hall County grand jury returned an indictment charging him with first degree homicide by vehicle.
Villanueva was initially arrested by Gainesville police on a charge of murder in the June 13 death of Daniel “Ghost” Adame, 23, who died after being struck by a minivan during a fight at the Lenox Park apartments off U.S. 129 South.
Murder carries a minimum sentence of life in prison, with parole eligibility after 30 years.
District Attorney Lee Darragh declined to say why the charge was reduced, saying he could not comment on the pending case.
Villanueva also faces charges of serious injury by vehicle, DUI, reckless driving and hit and run. The indictment accuses him of being under the influence of alcohol, cocaine and marijuana when he struck Adame with the car.
The 12-count indictment names eight other defendants who go by the gang names “Boogie,” “Little Boogie,” “Yankee,” “Bone Crusher,” “Little Ghost,” “Pipo,” “Chino” and “Lalo,” according to court documents.
They face charges of criminal street gang activity, which also carries a 15-year maximum sentence, and misdemeanor affray.
Police say the victim was a member of the Sur-13 street gang and that Villanueva was a member of BOE-23.
The others charged are members of either La Onda or BOE-23, with the exception of two Sur-13 members, officials said.
The fight broke out about 4:45 a.m., when rival gang members met near the mailboxes of the low-income, predominately Hispanic apartment complex.
The death came 10 months after the August 2009 gang-related shooting death of 16-year-old Juan “Baby P-Nut” Gomez, a member of La Onda. Two alleged members of Sur-13 are awaiting trial in that homicide.
The two killings are not believed to be directly connected, authorities say.