Efren Paredes, Jr.

Berrien County, Michigan
Date of Crime:  March 8, 1989

Efren Paredes Jr. was convicted of the armed robbery and murder of his employer, Rick Tetzlaff. Paredes, then 15, worked as a grocery bagger at Roger's Vineland Foods. He worked the evening of the murder, and was asked by Tetzlaff to stay late because there was more work that day due to it being a double coupon day. At 8:45 p.m. Efren called his mother for permission. She agreed but said Efren had to be home by 9:30 as it was a school night. Efren's mother stated that Tetzlaff told her that he would drive Efren home himself, “as soon as we're done.” These conversations were corroborated by the trial testimony of a prosecution witness, Pam Koebel, an employee of the store. Efren punched out of work at 9:22, and Tetzlaff drove him home. Typically Tetzlaff worked to 10 p.m. on double coupon days, and presumably returned directly to the store.

At some point, Tetzlaff was murdered in the store, and the store was robbed of $11,000 in cash and checks. The time was probably between 9:30 and 10 p.m. based on accounts of witnesses who lived across the street from the store. A week after the crime, police arrested Alex Mui, Eric Mui, and Jason Williamson for the robbery of Vineland Foods and the murder of Tetzlaff. These three, along with a fourth individual, Steve Miller, an admitted participant in the planning of the crime, implicated Paredes as Tetzlaff's murderer. All of these individuals were older than 15-year-old Paredes. Alex Mui alleged that he drove Paredes home that night, rather than the victim. Searches of these participants' homes and the home of a friend of one of the participants yielded the car used in the crime, money linked to the crime, and the murder weapon.

Police conducted a thorough search of Paredes' home and found no evidence of his involvement. However, after the search, while Paredes' family had been visiting him in jail, his home had apparently been broken into as a door was found unlocked. Following the apparent break-in, Miller signed an affidavit stating that he forgot to tell police where Paredes had hidden money from the robbery. The statement included where the money was hidden. Based on this affidavit, a second search warrant for Paredes' home was issued. However, before this warrant was executed, Paredes' stepfather found a small case containing money in the basement and turned it over to police.

Paredes was tried as an adult. He was convicted due to testimony from Alex Mui and Steve Miller, who both accepted deals from the state. Eric Mui and Jason Williamson were never called to testify because they had made several conflicting statements. Paredes was given three life sentences.  [9/07]


References:  www.4efren.com, Justice: Denied, Petition

Posted in:  Victims of the State, Michigan Cases