Escalating violence led up to suspect shooting baby

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The man accused of shooting a 10-month-old girl in the head said just one word at his first court appearance.

"You're not to come within 100 yards of their homes or their person and you are not to contact them through a third party," Judge Francine Zepeda told Marco Echartea. "Do you understand?"

"Yes," he said.

The suspect is 23 years old and only had a couple of misdemeanors on his record before this year -- a 2015 vandalism conviction and a 2017 DUI conviction.

But in January, he committed a domestic violence felony and police say his violence only got worse from there.

RELATED: Chief Dyer: Suspect who shot 10-month-old girl in Central Fresno 'had no remorse'

Marcos Echartea couldn't handle rejection, so he shot at the woman who denied his romantic advances, according to Fresno police.

Now he's rejecting the 16 felony charges against him, stemming from two separate crimes.

"We'll be entering not guilty pleas to all counts and enhancements," said his defense attorney, Albert Silva.

Investigators say Echartea shot Fayth Percy in the head as she sat in her mother's lap in the passenger seat of a car trying to escape Echartea.

The girl's mother and the driver saw it all happen. Police arrested the suspect hours later.

"A defense lawyer will have a hard time defending a case where you have believable eyewitnesses in front of a jury," said legal analyst Ralph Torres.

Action News found court records outlining a series of violent crimes leading up to the shooting Sunday morning.

Echartea pleaded no contest to false imprisonment in March for the domestic violence incident in January.

He was set to get probation, but before a judge sentenced him, police say he shot up the home where an ex-girlfriend might've been staying.

He narrowly missed hitting a 1-year-old child.

That was in May. A month later, before police arrested him for that driveby, he almost killed 10-month-old Fayth.

"This person, if true, was on some sort of spree," Torres said. "It seems to have involved some domestic violence because you don't get probation for false imprisonment unless there's some unusual circumstances."

Torres says the case could be tough to defend, but he'd start by looking into Echartea's mental health and his history with drugs and alcohol.

"Him being in jail may be the best thing for him so that, first of all, it protects society and also allows him to take a respite from whatever drug he was doing," said Torres.

Baby Fayth has had brain surgery to remove bullet fragments and she's still in critical condition, but she's now stabilized and expected to survive.

Echartea is due back in court next month, and his bail is set at $6.26 million.
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