Isaac Barajas, 18, has acknowledged his role in beating a juvenile at a Pasco bus stop as retribution for the victim’s actions in an earlier criminal case.
Barajas had been set to start his second trial Wednesday in Franklin County Superior Court. But the Pasco man opted to accept a plea offer as a group of potential jurors waited in another courtroom.
Barajas entered an Alford plea to the crime, which also involved his younger brother, Abraham Barajas, 15.
An Alford plea means he denied committing the crime, but believed prosecutors had enough evidence for a jury to find him guilty.
Abraham Barajas — who already pleaded guilty in Juvenile Court to the assault — now is a suspect in a Feb. 4 fatal shooting outside a Pasco grocery store.
The brothers were walking on Dec. 12 near the Ben Franklin Transit bus transfer station on North 22nd Avenue when they saw the victim heading to one of the bus benches, according to police and prosecutors.
The victim’s family home had been burglarized and robbed by the Barajas brothers. Both brothers were convicted. The beating was reportedly payback for the victim being a witness to that crime, court documents said.
The brothers first punched the victim in the face, knocking off his glasses and sending him to the ground, documents said. Then they punched, kicked and stomped him on the head and torso.
They ran off when a witness yelled for them to stop.
The witness, who was in a nearby car, reported initially seeing Isaac Barajas pull out a pistol and hand it to Abraham Barajas before they approached the juvenile, documents said.
Police tracked them to the 1800 block of Yakima Street, where one was seen jumping a fence. The brothers were found in two homes in the neighborhood and arrested within 45 minutes of the attack.
Police found a knife, but no gun, during the arrests.
The victim suffered minor pain in the beating. He was treated at a Tri-City hospital and released.
Isaac Barajas was charged with attempted second-degree assault. His first trial in April ended in a hung jury, with 11 of 12 voting to convict him.
Abraham Barajas testified against his older brother in the first trial.
Deputy Prosecutor Dave Corkrum said all along he’d offered Isaac Barajas a deal to plead guilty to third-degree assault, and the teen took advantage of that offer at the last minute.
He had been in jail since Dec. 23 and was granted release Wednesday on his personal recognizance. He faces between four and 12 months in jail, with Corkrum planning to recommend four months with credit for time served.
Abraham Barajas pleaded guilty to third-degree assault in January, and in April was sentenced to 14 days in the Juvenile Detention Center for violating his probation by wearing gang paraphernalia and associating with other gang members.
He was charged earlier this month with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder for the death of Juan C. Melgoza.
Abraham Barajas and Chris Pedroza-DeSantiago, 20, allegedly discussed killing Melgoza and followed through on it because Melgoza was seen wearing a rival gang color.
Pedroza-DeSantiago allegedly pulled the trigger, but Barajas went along because he needed to “put in work” for his gang or face being kicked out and beaten, court documents said.
A hearing for a Franklin County Superior Court judge to decide if Barajas’ case will be handled in juvenile or adult court is set for Aug. 10.