Valley teen talks about shooting a 91-year-old in the face

July 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Valley teenager who admits to shooting 91-year-old Marcella Miller in 2011 is fighting the attempted murder charges against him. His trial started Friday morning.

Soto was 17 when he shot Miller during a robbery attempt early Thanksgiving morning. His attorney admits Soto did it, but says he was high on cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol. And he never intended to kill anyone.

Oscar Soto admits he's a criminal. As a 17-year-old, he confessed to scouting a San Joaquin home and shooting out a window to get inside.

When his trial started, prosecutors played a video walkthrough of the house along with Soto's taped interview with sheriff's detectives as he explained how he picked his target.

"It's like, it looked like you know, like I don't know, a rich house," he said. "It just looked like something would be in it."

Soto searched the home for jewelry, but the two residents woke up when they heard the gunfire. He confronted 63-year-old Marilyn Miller first.

"And I think I asked her who else was in the house and she said her mom and I'm looking around and I see another room and I see her coming out of her bed and like I stood and then she walked, she walked toward me," Soto told detectives.

He shot 91-year-old Marcella Miller in the face and ran away. He doesn't deny it. But his attorney disputes whether Soto actually threatened Miller before shooting and says the teen never intended to kill anyone.

"We all know who did it," said defense attorney Mike McKneely. "And we all know what he did. The reason you're here is because attempted murder is too high a price."

Miller spent two weeks in the hospital and still suffers partial paralysis in her right arm. Prosecutors say Soto knew exactly what he was doing and the trial comes down to just one question.

"Did he have the intent to kill her when he pointed the gun at her face from point blank range, saying, 'Where's the gold? Give me the gold or I'm going to kill you' and then shot her in the face?" asked prosecutor Jeff Dupras.

Miller is now 93 and says she keeps the bullet doctors removed from her neck as a reminder of what she survived.

Soto faces life in prison if he's convicted.


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