“Case of mistaken identity”, 2 Salvadorans arrested for the double homicide of Salinas

Two people have been arrested for the murder of a Salinas couple who were fatally shot on February 5. >> Watch the press conference in the video player above. According to Salinas police, Jesus Villa and Karina Vargas were in their car when they were shot. Police said they believe two people approached the car on foot before shooting Villa and Vargas multiple times. Villa and Vargas were dating. On Wednesday, police announced that Gonzalo Echeverria, 24, and Jose Echeverria, 34, were arrested for shooting and killing Villa and Vargas. Gonzalo and Jose are cousins ​​and citizens of El Salvador who had both been deported before. Police Chief Roberto Filice said the murders were a case of mistaken identity. “We had no leads, but our detectives worked tirelessly until they developed tiny leads,” Filice said. “Now we have two cowards in custody.” Filece said he met with the families on Tuesday. “Jesus and Karina were not the intended targets of this senseless act of violence,” said Salinas Police Detective James Arensdorf. “It was actually a case of mistaken identity.” Arensdorf said detectives sifted through 1,000 hours of surveillance video to find the suspects. Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni said Gonzalo was paroled after serving two years of his eight-year-and-four-month sentence. He had been charged with possession of a firearm as part of a gang and aiding in the escape of another gang member. Pacioni said the California Department of Corrections parole office granted him early parole. Pacioni said his office opposed the early release. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), Echeverria was not sentenced to eight years, but rather five years. CDCR sent KSBW 8 the following statement: “Echeverria was sentenced to CDCR on September 27, 2019 from Monterey County to serve a five-year, eight-month sentence for carrying a loaded firearm in public and participating to criminal gang activity as a second attacker.The sentencing court awarded Echeverria 625 days of pre-sentence credits awarded pending trial, 17 days of post-sentence credits awarded pending transportation to the state prison and 17 days of earned credits which are the corresponding good behavior credits awarded for days pending transfer to a state prison (post-sentence credits).Under California law, Echeverria was eligible for day-to-day credit (50%) while incarcerated Echeverria’s release date has been identified as September 30, 2021, but under urgent COVID-19 measures for those incarcerated eligible with 180 days or remaining to serve, his release date has been brought forward to May 25, 2021.” | Video player | ‘Our lives won’t be the same’: Grieving family share memories of slain Salinas man ‘They were about to be together for three years. He was waiting to get jumper cables from my friend .saw him there, lying in his car,” a friend of Villa’s – who asked to remain anonymous – told KSBW 8. Villa was a beloved member of the Closter Park boxing community. “It helped him stay out of trouble, boxing, community centers like that and I feel like if there was more of that it could have changed history. He was good, honest , one of the most real people I’ve ever known,” a friend told KSBW 8.

Two people have been arrested for the murder of a Salinas couple who were shot and killed on February 5. >>Watch the press conference in the video player above.

According to Salinas police, Jesus Villa and Karina Vargas were in their car when they were shot. Police said they believe two people approached the car on foot before shooting Villa and Vargas multiple times. Villa and Vargas were dating.

On Wednesday, police announced that Gonzalo Echeverria, 24, and Jose Echeverria, 34, were arrested for shooting and killing Villa and Vargas. Gonzalo and Jose are cousins ​​and Salvadoran citizens who had both been previously deported.

Police Chief Roberto Filice said the murders were a case of mistaken identity.

“We had no leads, but our detectives worked tirelessly until they developed tiny leads,” Filice said. “Now we have two cowards in custody.”

Filice said he met with the families on Tuesday.

“Jesus and Karina were not the intended targets of this senseless act of violence,” said Salinas Police Detective James Arensdorf. “It was actually a mistaken identity.”

Arensdorf said detectives sifted through 1,000 hours of surveillance video to find the suspects.

Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni said Gonzalo was paroled after serving two years of his eight-year-and-four-month sentence. He had been charged with possession of a firearm as part of a gang and aiding in the escape of another gang member.

Pacioni said the California Department of Corrections parole office granted him early parole. Pacioni said his office opposed the early release.

According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), Echeverria was not sentenced to eight years, but rather five years. CDCR sent KSBW 8 the following statement:

“Echeverria was sentenced at CDCR on September 27, 2019 from Monterey County to serve a five-year, eight-month sentence for carrying a loaded firearm in public and criminal gang activities as the second attacker. The court in the sentence awarded Echeverria 625 days of pre-sentence credits awarded pending trial, 17 days of post-sentence credits awarded pending transportation to state prison, and 17 days of earned credits which are the corresponding good behavior credits awarded for days spent awaiting transfer to state prison (post-California law, Echeverria was eligible to earn day-to-day credit (50%) while incarcerated. The date of release from Echeverria was identified as September 30, 2021, but as part of the COVID-19 emergency measures for eligible incarcerated individuals with 180 days or remaining to serve, her release date was brought forward. created on May 25, 2021.”

| Video player | ‘Our lives won’t be the same’: Grieving family shares memories of slain Salinas man

“They were about to be together for three years. He was waiting to get some jumper cables from my friend. That’s when it all happened. He showed up and saw her there, lying in his car,” a friend of Villa – who asked to remain anonymous – told KSBW 8.

Villa was a beloved member of the Closter Park boxing community.

“It helped him stay out of trouble, boxing, community centers like that and I feel like if there was more of that it could have changed history. He was good, honest, l ‘one of the most real people I’ve ever known,’ a friend told KSBW 8.

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