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Jury Questionnaires Handed Out in Atwater Homicide Trial

MERCED - Jury questionnaires were handed out Tuesday, a week ahead of a trial for two defendants charged with murder in connection with the stabbing death of an Atwater man in 2012.

Miguel Rivera, 30, and Cindy Maciel, 24, have pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the Oct. 26, 2012, stabbing death of 23-year-old Ryan Williams during a large brawl at an Atwater bar on Sycamore Avenue.

Jury selection in the long-awaited trial begins May 5 before Judge David Moranda in Merced Superior Court, the Merced County District Attorney’s Office confirmed.

Prosecutors said Rivera, a suspected gang member, stabbed Williams after accusing him of being involved in a rival street gang. Police have said Williams was not involved in gangs.

“Mr. Rivera continues to maintain his innocence and is looking forward to his day in court,” said Jeffrey Tenenbaum, Rivera’s attorney.

Prosecutors have accused Maciel of trying to help Rivera hide the alleged murder weapon, which was found the following morning. Police said the victim’s DNA was found on the knife they recovered.

Maciel’s attorney, David Capron, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Both defendants remain in custody in Merced County.

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