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3 charged in 2002 kidnap-murder of California girl

LOS ANGELES -Three reputed gang members are charged with killing a 15-year-old Southern California girl who was kidnapped on her way to school more than a decade ago.

Prosecutors say Brenda Sierra was kidnapped on Oct. 18, 2002 as she walked to a friend's house to catch a ride to her high school in Montebello. They allege she was killed because her brother witnessed a shooting for which one of the suspects was incarcerated.

Prosecutors filed murder and other charges Tuesday against Eddie Chavira, Daniel Cervantes and George Barraza. Chavira and Cervantes already were in prison for an unrelated manslaughter.

Barraza is at large.

A fourth defendant, Rosemary Chavira, pleaded not guilty in March.

Brenda Sierra was raped and beaten to death. Her body was found the next day in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Authorities say she was killed because her brother testified against gang members in connection with a shooting and to intimidate other witnesses.

Prosecutors allege that before Sierra's death, Eddie Chavira was in prison for a shooting witnessed by Sierra's brother. Chavira allegedly told a fellow Lott gang member that he was going to have other members of the gang take care of witnesses, according to a Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

He allegedly contacted his sister Rosemary Chavira, who was 15 at the time, to assist in getting other gang members involved.

The victim did not have ties to gangs, according to the statement.

Rosemary Chavira, Cervantes and Barraza are charged with one count each of murder, conspiracy to dissuade a witness and forcible rape with the special circumstances of felony murder during commission of a kidnapping and to further a street gang, according to the district attorney.

Eddie Chavira is charged with one count each of murder and conspiracy to intimidate a witness.

Rosemary Chavira faces life in prison without parole if convicted. She's set to return to court on Aug. 4. Eddie Chavira faces 25 years to life.

Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek death against Cervantes and Barraza.

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