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TRIAL MAY BE RESCHEDULED IN FREEWAY-RAMP SHOOTING

A tentative trial date has been set for Natanel Armenta-Corrales, accused of handing the gun to the shooter who killed a woman following a freeway onramp confrontation.

The 18-year-old defendant appeared before 3rd District Judge Sandra Peuler on Monday to set the trial for May 21.But three hours after the hearing, defense attorney David Mack said the trial will likely have to be rescheduled because of conflicts with the prosecution's schedule.

Armenta-Corralles, who has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, was bound over for trial earlier this month.

At the preliminary hearing, an eyewitness to the slaying of Diane Purper said a racial epithet sparked the shooting.

Manuelillo Valenzuela, also known as Mario Peraza-Armenta, the fugitive accused of shooting Purper on the downtown I-15 onramp on Feb. 2, became angry after allegedly hearing a passenger in Purper's car call him an "(expletive) wetback," said Jamie Prescott.

Prescott, a passenger in Valenzuela's car, also said Purper stopped repeatedly on the onramp, as if trying to make Valenzuela hit her car. When the light at an intersection turned green, Purper did not move, so Valenzuela honked several times, Prescott said.

She said Valenzuela told Armenta-Coralles to give him a handgun and he fired at Purper as he passed her car.