Lawyer appeals decision to prosecute Fresno teenager as an adult



Philip Frusetta, 24, was identified by the Fresno Police Department as the security guard who was fatally shot at a motel on Tuesday, August 24, 2021.

Fresno Police Department

The murder case against an 18-year-old Fresno man accused of killing a security guard at Motel 6 in downtown Fresno last year remains in limbo as his lawyer appeals the decision to pursue it as an adult.

Adam Isaiah Chavira was 17 when he allegedly murdered 24-year-old Phillip Ray Frusetta on August 24, 2021. Frusetta was a private security guard working at Motel 6 on Blackstone and East Griffith Way.

Police arrested Chavira about a month after the shooting and charged him with murder, but he remained in the juvenile justice system due to his age and his name was not made public until recently.

Senior Assistant District Attorney David Olmos successfully convinced juvenile court in May to transfer Chavira to adult court where he will face more serious consequences if convicted.

But Chavira’s defense is weighing on a ruling by the Fifth District Court of Appeals.

Pfaff could not be reached for comment on Tuesday and Olmos declined to comment.

Chavira’s scheduled arraignment on Tuesday continued for a month in hopes the appeals court will have a decision by then.

In the meantime, Chavira will remain at the Juvenile Justice Campus.

Frusetta had been an employee of Black Python Security for several months before his death.

Police said he was hired to help resolve any issues at the motel. On the night of the shooting, he was investigating a report of a commotion on the motel’s second floor around 10 p.m.

Upon arrival, he was confronted by a small group of people, one of whom pulled out a gun and fired, hitting Frusetta once in the chest, police said.

The group scattered as Frusetta lay there, bleeding. He died at the scene, despite police rescue efforts.

Frusetta leaves behind a young son, whose mother Mina Serrano, 22, was killed in a car crash in 2019.

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A Valley native, Robert has worked at The Fresno Bee since 1994, covering a variety of topics including education, business and agriculture. It currently covers the courts.


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