The family of the man accused in San Diego’s Christmas Eve triple homicide case is responding to news of his arrest, apologizing for any pain the victims’ families have suffered through this ordeal.
Michael Berg, attorney of suspect Carlo Mercado, 29, released this statement to NBC 7 Monday night on behalf of Mercado’s family:
“On behalf of Carlo Mercado, we would like the community to know how sorry we are for any pain the Flint and Belvedere family have suffered and are suffering. We have only had limited contact with Carlo since his arrest and have not been made aware of any evidence against him. We remain fully supportive of him and ask the public to respect our privacy during this difficult time.”
Mercado is being treated at UC San Diego Medical Center for injuries suffered after he was booked into jail over the weekend. His attorney did not want to elaborate on the incident but said the suspect’s family is shocked their brother/son is behind bars facing three first-degree murder charges.
“He's loved by his family and never been in trouble before…He's adamantly denying any involvement whatsoever,” Berg told NBC 7.
Mercado is accused of gunning down Ilona Flint and Salvatore Belvedere on Christmas Eve in the Macy's Mission Valley parking lot. He's also accused of killing Gianni Belvedere.
Court records show Mercado was stopped by law enforcement on January 18, one day after Gianni’s body was found, in Riverside. Mercado's lawyer says the suspect was returning from target practice.
In May, months later, Mercado was charged with three weapons-related felonies, and a misdemeanor. All charges were dropped except one. He pleaded guilty for possessing a loose silencer. These charges have not been linked to the homicide case.
Mercado’s lawyer says his client is single and lived with his sister and brother-in-law in Mira Mesa. The suspect’s mother and other sibling live in the Bay Area. Mercado works at Target. Berg says he had no prior criminal history before the weapons charges.
“You will see he's a very quiet, unassuming soft spoken individual. He clearly does not fit the mold you would suspect would be guilty of these crimes and I fully believe he will be acquitted once we have the evidence and can go into court to fight it,” Berg said.
Late Monday night, the Belvedere family also released a statement:
“We want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. We stand united with the Flint family in the pursuit of justice. In the near future we will be updating our website with a detailed personal letter thank everyone for everything they have done to help us in getting justice for our loved ones. We look forward to creating a non-profit charity in Gianni, Sal, and Ilona's name that will help families who lose loved ones to violence. It's our goal to not let this tragedy define the legacy of our children instead we plan on giving them the legacy they deserve by helping other people.”
Mercado is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday where, Berg says, he will plead not guilty.