Murder trial coming for innocent teen killed in Fresno's Tower District

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Police say Jacob Abston shot and killed 16-year-old Kevin Bonton, Jr. last February -- while riding a bicycle in Fresno's Tower District.

Abston's defense attorney isn't conceding his client was the gunman, but he says whoever pulled the trigger was probably just trying to stop a machete attack. Problem is, they missed and hit Bonton, who wasn't attacking anyone.

One abandoned bicycle on the road and one innocent life lost. Kevin Bonton was shot and killed in the middle of a dispute half a block away.

"Tragically the case also presents the possibility that he was killed by an accidental shot or a ricochet," said defense attorney Linden Lindahl, who represents the accused shooter. "It's a sad case."

But the 16-year-old's death was a case of homicide by association. Investigators say Bonton had no apparent gang affiliation, but he was riding that bike with some other teens -- away from a house where they'd just been confronted by gang members. One of those gang members, a teen ever younger than Bonton, says the shooter was Jacob Abston. Abston isn't admitting he was the shooter, but even if he was, his attorney says the guys on the bikes had weapons and were threatening the younger boy.

"At the point that a shot was fired, one of this group was advancing on the other group, carrying a machete," said Lindahl.

But investigators say Abston's intentions were clear. He started the trouble the night of the shooting and he'd been to the same house earlier in the week.

"And then three days later, he actually shoots him?" said Fresno County sheriff's detective Eric Cervantes. "I would say he started the job and then finished the job."

A judge decided Thursday there is enough evidence for Abston to stand trial for murder with a gang enhancement.

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