A man accused of killing a former Sonoma County corrections officer in downtown Santa Rosa early Wednesday morning was arraigned for murder and use of a gun this afternoon in Sonoma County Superior Court. Ryan Mitchell Dietz, 29, of Santa Rosa, delayed entering his pleas until July 15. Judge Rene Chouteau ordered him not to change his physical appearance until he appears in a identification line-up next week. Dietz is charged with killing 33-year-old Jack Romero of Santa Rosa after an argument outside the Third Street Aleworks at 610 3rd St.
He allegedly chased Romero and shot him as he ran. Romero’s body was found around midnight Wednesday in a breezeway nearby. Dietz was arrested Wednesday afternoon at Integrity Electric in San Rafael, where he worked as an electrician. Santa Rosa police said Dietz confronted Romero on previous occasions about Romero dating his girlfriend, Garicka Lavern Rush, when the couple was estranged. Rush and Dietz have three children. Rush, 31, and Romero were at the pub just before the killing, according to police. Rush has been charged with being an accessory to the murder, but police said she did not witness it. This afternoon she delayed entering her plea until Thursday.
Chouteau raised her bail from $50,000 to $100,000 after Deputy District Attorney Jane Murray said Rush also tampered with evidence in the case. Dietz is being held without bail. Both the defendants and Romero were neighbors at one time, police said. Dietz and Rush have been charged with misdemeanor battery on a spouse or co-habitant, according to court records. Both their cases were dismissed.
Dietz was arrested for false imprisonment and battery on Dec. 24, 2008. He was released from custody, placed under supervision and his case was dismissed on April 7, 2009, at the prosecution’s request. Rush was arrested for spousal battery and vandalism on April 10, 2005. The case was dismissed on May 16, 2006 when the prosecution said it did not have the witnesses to proceed with the trial. The alleged domestic violence victims are not public records. Romero was a corrections officer at Sonoma County Jail between 2002 and 2008. He was the subject of an internal investigation that could have led to his dismissal, but he resigned, Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Duenas said.
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