Tuesday, September 26, 2023

‘I shot him. I seen him shake’: Testimony heard in Virginia Beach shooting spree cases

VIRGINIA BEACH — While on a break from his job at Taco Bell, a teenager drove his friend to a Virginia Beach neighborhood in December.

Minutes later, a 34-year-old man was dead, and the teenager returned to Taco Bell to finish his shift, a homicide detective testified Tuesday.

Virginia Beach Homicide Detective K. M. Fanelli testified in Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court that Taco Bell employee Nicholas Cates, 18, was high on Xanax and marijuana on Dec. 2 when he drove Angelo Worlds, 17, to Tapo Mobile Park.

Almost as soon as the pair arrived, Worlds got out of Cates’ car and shot Zacarias Aguilar-Ayala in the torso, Fanelli said.

Police arrived at the crime scene, located at the 1300 block of Hawk Avenue, around 7:41 p.m. There they found Aguilar-Ayala dead in the driver’s seat of his car.

Fanelli testified that Worlds used Cates’ gun, which the teenager kept in the car. A gun was later found hidden in the attic of Worlds’ family home.

“[Worlds] said, ‘I shot him. I seen him shake,'” Fanelli testified, adding that Worlds was high on Xanax at the time of the shooting. The teenager told police the drug made him feel angry.

Fanelli said Worlds called Aguilar-Ayala an “innocent person,” and that he shot him because he was the only person in the street at that time.

Worlds is charged with first-degree murder in connection with Aguilar-Ayala’s death. Cates was also charged with first-degree murder, but Virginia Beach JDR Judge Randall Blow dismissed the charge Tuesday.

“The only evidence I have is that Mr. Cates was present,” at the time of the shooting, Blow said.

Blow added that he saw no evidence that Cates knew his friend planned to shoot anyone or that he gave him the gun.

Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s spokeswoman Macie Allen said there is a chance prosecution will directly indict Cates on first-degree murder in connection with Aguilar-Ayala’s death in the future, although no decisions have been made yet.

The shooting was one in a series of six between Nov. 29 and Dec. 7 that killed two people and injured others.

Cates and Worlds were both 17 at the time of the shootings. Cates turned 18 in January and Worlds will turn 18 in March.

The shootings include Nov. 29 on Skylard Drive, Nov. 30 on Old Clubhouse Road, Dec. 2 on Hawk Road, Dec. 4. on Campion Court, Dec. 7 on Dunnbury Court and Dec. 7 on Old Clubhouse Road.

Cates is charged with use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and for the Dec. 4 murder of Christine Bender, a 60-year-old woman who was killed around 2:05 a.m. in the 900 block of Campion Court.

Another man, 19-year-old Maurice Boney Jr., of the 3700 block of Canadian Arch, is also charged with first-degree murder in connection with Bender’s death, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and conspiracy. His trial is scheduled for May 31.

Bender’s death was not discussed in court on Tuesday.

Worlds is also charged with four counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and three counts of aggravated malicious wounding.

Three witnesses also testified Tuesday, sharing information about the Dec. 7 shootings on Old Clubhouse Road and Dunnbury Court. Worlds is charged in connection with those shootings.

Blow banned media from publishing the names of the witnesses and victims related to those shootings.

One witness testified that a man who was shot through the front door of a home located in the 1100 block of Old Clubhouse Road has undergone multiple surgeries and must be fed through a feeding tube.

Another said she closed and locked the front door of a home located in the 3200 block of Dunnbury Court moments before four shots were fired through the door, grazing her head and hitting her in the shoulder.

The cases against Cates and Worlds are scheduled to go to a grand jury on April 17. If the grand jury certifies the cases, the teenagers will be tried as adults in Virginia Beach Circuit Court.

Cates’ trial has been scheduled for May 30, while Worlds is scheduled for June 5.

Mayfield can be reached at adrienne.m@wydaily.com.

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