Police believe Cabrera shot and killed 14-year-old Troy “T.J.” Wells shortly after midnight Feb. 16 in the hallway of a hotel in Holland Township. Cabrera fled the scene, but was arrested by the Michigan State Police on March 1. He was booked in the Ottawa County Jail over the weekend.
Cabrera appeared before Judge Susan Jonas on Monday morning and was arraigned on charges of open murder, felony firearms and gang membership.
Jonas said Cabrera was arrested in the “western part of the Upper Peninsula.” Previous court documents show police believe Cabrera is a member of the Holland Latin Kings gang.
Open murder allows for a jury to determine whether first-degree premeditated or second-degree non-premeditated murder is a more appropriate charge at trial.
Cabrera was denied bond and will remain in the Ottawa County Jail as his case makes its way through the court system. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.
Cabrera’s father and uncle also allegedly have ties to the Holland Latin Kings. Juan Pedro Cabrera, 34, the murder suspect’s father, is also currently in the Ottawa County Jail for failing to appear for a parole hearing shortly after his son was named as a murder suspect. The father’s original charges were for an assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder in Ottawa County in 2015.
The murder suspect’s uncle, Joe Pete Cabrera, 36, is currently serving a nearly nine-year sentence in federal prison for gang-related crimes. He was arrested as part of an FBI sweep of 31 former gang members in Holland in 2013. In the federal indictment, police said Joe Cabrera deposited money into several Holland Latin Kings members’ jail accounts in the 2000s, and in 2008 was found to be in possession of a semiautomatic pistol and 0.78 gram of cocaine.
A few months later, Joe Cabrera and others beat and stabbed a man outside the now-closed Shooters Bar in Holland. Joe Cabrera stabbed the man multiple times in the lower back, but the victim survived. That same year, Joe Cabrera fired a weapon at a home on West 19th Street in Holland during a drive-by shooting.
Juan Sandro Cabrera will appear back in court March 22 for a preliminary exam in front of Jonas. That hearing will determine whether there is enough evidence to send the case to trial in Ottawa County Circuit Court.