Two suspects in Mercado murder appear in court

October 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
No pictures were allowed inside the courtroom where Ernie Chanmany appeared for his arraignment.

The 22 year old is charged with being an accessory after the fact in the death of Sammy Mercado. The 16 year old Sanger youth was believed to have been shot to death last April while he and two friends were trying to steal marijuana from a grow Southeast of Fresno.

Chanmany was arrested in a marijuana bust in Utah three weeks ago. He was returned to Fresno on Saturday. He lead deputies to an orchard where a body, they believe to be Mercado's was found buried in a shallow grave.

Chanmany did not say anything in court. The judge declared him to be a danger to society and raised his bail from just $7 thousand, to $700 thousand. His arraignment was continued until next Thursday.

A few hours later Michael Voravong was arraigned in another courtroom. He's charged with murder in Mercado's death. The judge did not allow pictures of his face.

Voravong is 29 years old. He was arrested at his home in Southeast Fresno last Sunday. His arraignment was also put off, until next Wednesday. His bail was set much higher than Chanmany's, at $1.6 million.

The court sessions for both men were continued until next week to give their attorneys more time to receive information about the evidence against them.

Deputies are searching for a third suspect, Marshall Voravong, Michael's younger brother. He is also wanted for murder. Both of the Voravongs have extensive and violent criminal histories.


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