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Wednesday, March 31, 2004


Two youths shot
in Bellevue

Musician held on attempted murder charges

Express Staff Writer

David Leroy Santistevan, 46, of Bellevue, has been arraigned in 5th District Court in connection with the shooting of two Bellevue youths Monday evening in the southern Blaine County community.

Santistevan is being charged with two counts of attempted murder, said Blaine County Deputy Sheriff Gene Ramsey in a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the Old Blaine County Court House in Hailey. Both victims were shot once. The investigation is ongoing and no motive has been determined, he said.


The older victim was identified as John Marshall Hooten, 19, of Bellevue. He is listed in critical condition at a Boise hospital, and has had two surgeries since the shooting, Ramsey said.

The 15-year-old juvenileís name will be released with publication of the official complaint, which will include sworn police affidavits, said Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas. The youth is reported in stable condition.

Thomas and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Justin Whatcott are working together on the case. The two prosecutors also are currently busy preparing for the trial of Sarah Johnson, who is accused of shooting her parents in Bellevue six months ago.

"We still have quite a bit of searching to do at (Santistevanís) house," Thomas said. Santistevan was arrested at his home at 509 Walnut Street, Bellevue. "He was at the house when we served the warrant."

At the arraignment Tuesday afternoon criminal trial attorney Doug Nelson appeared in court to represent Santistevan, a well-known Bellevue musician and guitar instructor.

Blaine County Magistrate Judge Robert Elgee found probable cause for two counts of attempted first degree murder, Thomas said.

Thomas said he filed a sentencing enhancement for use of a firearm in the commission of a crime.

Bond was set at $1 million, or $500,000 for each count. A preliminary hearing will be set within 14 days.

Ramsey said the two youths were traveling on a four-wheeler and had confronted Santistevan, who was standing outside by the driverís side door of a Subaru Forester in an alley east of Main Street when the shots were fired.

Hooten was shot in the chest and fell to the ground. The 15-year-old was shot in the buttocks or the back as he fled on the four-wheeler to his home on Second Street, where police said he collapsed on the front porch of his home.

A review of Santistevanís driverís license showed no record of a concealed weapons permit for the weapon police allege he carried on his person.

"Weíre finding 9 mm shells and casings," Thomas said. The weapon used in the crime was a semi automatic 9-millimeter handgun, Thomas said.

The victims were initially transported by ambulance to St. Lukeís Wood River Medical Center, where three helicopter flights were employed to treat them.

One helicopter flight was used to transport blood products from Twin Falls for Hootenís first surgery. A second flight transported the 15-year-old to Boise, where he is being treated for a gunshot wound to his lower back or buttocks. Hooten was transported in a third helicopter flight to Boise for a second surgery for a gunshot to the chest.

The conflict began around 8:45 p.m. in the alley behind the South Valley Pizzeria, between Elm and Oak Streets, Ramsey said. The investigation produced three 9-millimeter shell casings.

Bellevue Reserve Captain Larry Plott was the first police officer to respond to the 911 calls about the shootings. He said the citizens of Bellevue who came forth with statements were instrumental in leading to the arrest of Santistevan, who was brought into custody without incident at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

"Wood River Fire and Rescue helped with lighting for the crime scene search," said Plott, who is filling in for Bellevue Marshall Randy Tremble, who is out of town. "Just about every agency in this valley was represented during the investigation."

Reports from eyewitnesses at the scene contributed to the speedy arrest, Ramsey said.

A ledger allegedly linking Santistevan to the crime scene was found and people in both the Silver Dollar and Phoenix bars were interviewed. "It has been a cooperative investigation," Ramsey said

As of Tuesday afternoon subpoenas in the investigation were still being served.


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