A 17-year-old boy pleaded not guilty in Marin County Superior Court from a San Francisco dealership last year and .
The plea by Max Wade, 17, came after Judge Paul Haakenson denied a defense motion to separate the charges related to the March 2011 Lamborghini theft from the attempted murder and other charges that stem from the shooting. He also denied a motion to move the car theft case to juvenile court. Wade is being tried as an adult.
In denying the motions, Haakenson found that the theft and the shooting shared a "common element of substantial importance," namely that the Lamborghini is allegedly connected to both incidents, as is the storage facility where the car and a number of items connected to the shooting were found. Also, one of the two shooting victims was a 17-year-old girl who had rejected Wade's romantic advances, prosecutors said.
Wade is charged with burglary, vehicle theft and two counts of possession of stolen property in connection with the theft of a $200,000 bright yellow 2008 Lamborghini Spyder Gallardo on March 8, 2011, from the British Motor Car Distributors dealership on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco. The bleach blonde-haired Fieri had a “GUYTORO” vanity plate on the car.
In that heist, the thief rappelled down from the roof of the dealership, entered through a window, then drove away in the car, according to San Francisco police. Surveillance video footage obtained from the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin County town of Tiburon showed the Lamborghini driving by after the theft, investigators said.
Wade is charged with two counts of attempted murder and one count of shooting into an occupied pickup truck parked outside a home on Evergreen and Ethel avenues. In that incident, both the 17-year-old girl and Landon Wahlstrom, 18, of San Rafael, sustained minor injuries from broken glass when Wade allegedly shot at them five times around 11:30 a.m. on April 13, the Marin County Sheriff's Office said.
The victims said the gunman, dressed in black clothing and wearing a black helmet, was on a dark motorcycle when he fired a handgun at them from close range, sheriff's Sgt. Mark Hale said. That incident sent shockwaves throughout the quiet Homestead Valley area.
Detectives later identified Wade through surveillance footage from the in Strawberry, investigative work and confirmation from the victims, who said Wade was known for supplying fake California IDs to many high school students in Marin and for driving a yellow Lamborghini. Serendipity also came into play, as detectives spotted Wade in the courthouse hallway at the Civic Center in San Rafael as he was making a juvenile court appearance for a case in which he was charged with breaking into a vacant hilltop mansion in Tiburon, pretending he lived there and hosting a drinking bash there for dozens of teenagers.
Investigators then trailed Wade, ultimately leading them to the Richmond storage facility where they arrested Wade and found Fieri’s hot rod, along with other items related to the shooting and fake IDs, local police scanner coordinates and a full San Francisco Police Department uniform with a badge and duty belt, according to an affidavit filed in the case.
Defense attorney Charles Dresow said the two crimes were "separate incidents with separate victims in separate counties on separate dates."
Wade is being tried as an adult, but Dresow wanted the stolen Lamborghini charges heard in juvenile court if the judge had severed them from the complaint.
Deputy District Attorney Yvette Martinez argued that the stolen sports car is the common element in both crimes.
She said Wade used the $200,000 car to try to impress the 17-year-old girl. Martinez said Wade offered to let the girl drive the sports car, and used it to meet with her. She said that tied the Lamborghini to the attempted murder of the girl and Wahlstrom.
Dresow said there is no evidence that the car was stolen to impress the girl.
Haakenson ruled that the Lamborghini is "intricately connected to the defendant's motive and intent," and said all eight felony counts in the complaint are connected.
The girl filed a restraining order against Wade today, and Haakenson signed it in court. Haakenson said the girl had shunned Wade. Dresow said that Wade had made no attempt to contact the girl, electronically or otherwise, and he remains in custody in juvenile hall in lieu of $2 million bail.
The judge set a Sept. 17 date for a preliminary hearing. If convicted, Wade could face up to 30 years in prison.
After the hearing, Dresow said he respects the judge's decision.
"This will be a very, very long case," he said.
Dresow said Wade's parents love, support and miss their son and are asking everyone to respect their privacy.
"This is a difficult situation for a 17-year-old child to be potentially facing decades of incarceration," Dresow said. "It's a very stressful situation. It's not easy being in custody."
--Bay City News Service contributed to this report.