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Alejandro Morales2

Ventura County News Briefs

Sunday January 29, 2023

     Jury selection is getting underway this week in the retrial of an Oxnard murder case.

     On the evening of February 17, 2014, a shooting took place in the 2000 block of Mariposa Street.

     When it was over, two young men were shot, an 18-year-old from Oxnard who survived, and 24-year-old Joshua Van of Oxnard who died at the scene.

     Two people were arrested in connection with the incident, then 36-year-old Jesus Samuel Duarte of Oxnard and then 32-year-old Alejandro Gomez Morales, also from Oxnard.

     The authorities said it was a gang-related incident.

     In 2018, Duarte pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder with gang and other enhancements and was sentenced to 75-years-to-life in prison.

     His co-defendant, now 38-year-old Morales, maintains he is not guilty and denies all charges and special allegations against him.

     His first trial was held in September of 2021.

     His defense in the first trial was that not only was he not involved directly in the shooting, he had no prior knowledge that it was going to happen.

     The prosecution argued that not only did Morales know what was going to happen, he was very involved, even providing Duarte with the gun that was used and driving him to the scene.

     The jury in Morales's first trial deadlocked 10-2 for conviction and a mistrial was declared.

     This week jury selection begins in his retrial.

     Last week prosecutors and defense attorneys battled over several pretrial motions in what is expected to be a lengthy and complex legal battle over specific charges and evidence.

 

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Retail Thieves

(Photo courtesy Simi Valley Police Department)

       Simi Valley police say they captured a couple of organized retail theft suspects Saturday afternoon.

     The two 26-year-old Los Angeles women are alleged to have taken a combined total of $2,000 worth of merchandise from two stores, the CVS in the 4400 block of Alamo Street and the Rite-Aid in the 5800 block of East Los Angeles Avenue.

     Officers responding to the CVS call spotted the suspects fleeing from the Rite-Aid parking lot in a white sedan.

     They conducted an enforcement stop on the 118 eastbound at the Yosemite off ramp and took the women into custody.

     The women were booked into the Ventura County Jail for Grand Theft, Organized Retail Theft, and Conspiracy.

 

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MoreSimiTheft1

MoreSimiTheft2

MoreSimiTheft3

(Photos courtesy Simi Valley Police Department)

     For the second day in a row, Simi Valley police arrested suspects in connection with organized retail theft incidents.

     Around 4 PM Sunday an employee at the CVS at 591 Country Club Drive called police to report that three subjects had just taken over $1000 worth of cosmetics.

    The employee provided a description of the vehicle and its license plate number.

     Knowing that these thefts often involve more than one store, an officer checked the CVS store at 2825 Cochran Street and found the suspect vehicle.

     It was stopped and more than $3000 worth of suspected stolen merchandise was located.

     Two 21-year-old women from Lakewood and a 36-year-old man from Norwalk were arrested for Grand Theft, Organized Retail Theft, and Conspiracy.