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Youth Files Countersuit Linked to S. County Spearing Death

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Responding to a wrongful death suit against him, a youth charged with murder in the attack that ended with Steve Woods being speared through the head with a paint-roller rod has filed a lawsuit alleging his civil rights were violated.

Rogelio Vasquez Solis, 18, who is charged with second-degree murder and other felony charges stemming from the Oct. 15, 1993, attack at a San Clemente beach, filed the countersuit Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court.

The suit names Kathy Woods, mother of the slain teen-ager, who filed the wrongful-death action against Solis and eight others in November, and Sterling Breckenridge, who was among a group of teen-agers with Woods that night.

Woods was in the passenger seat of a friend’s Chevrolet Suburban when a paint-roller was lodged in his skull during a clash with a group of teen-agers whom police and prosecutors allege were gang members and their associates. Woods died 25 days later, never emerging from a coma.

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Woods’ friends said they were trying to flee the beach after Breckenridge was assaulted by someone in the other group. The defendants, however, contended they threw items, because they believed they were about to be run over.

Three of six defendants charged in the case have been convicted of second-degree murder, while a third pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. Solis and a sixth youth are awaiting trial.

Prosecutors have not tried to prove who actually hurled the paint-roller rod that fatally wounded Woods, but have argued that the defendants should be convicted of murder, based on a legal theory that all who participated in the deadly assault are responsible for the outcome, regardless of their individual roles or intentions.


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