General Crime

* Four Men Pleaded Not Guilty to a Killing During an Alleged Marijuana Deal in Sonoma County

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Four men pleaded not guilty in Sonoma County Superior Court this morning to killing a Santa Rosa man during an alleged marijuana deal in Sonoma County earlier this month. The complaint by the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office charges all four men with robbery, conspiracy and the murder of 33-year-old Jose Manuel DeJesus of Santa Rosa. DeJesus was shot once in the head in a vehicle in the parking lot of the Carniceria Contreras butcher store at 1401 Todd Road south of Santa Rosa on Oct. 6.

The murder occurred during a drug deal in which DeJesus was selling marijuana, Sonoma County sheriff’s Lt. Dennis O’Leary said. Fernando Lopez Castillo, 25, who was arrested at a motel in Hayward Wednesday night, is charged with intentionally discharging a firearm, indicating he shot DeJesus. The weapon allegation carries a 25-years-to-life prison term.

All four defendants also are charged with an enhancement alleging the murder happened during a marijuana robbery, which subjects them to the death penalty. The other defendants are Juan Ramon Lopez-Castillo, 28, of Sonoma County, Alberto Lopez-Barraza 33, of Mexico, and Jose Carraballo Mejia, 54, of Santa Rosa.

In an amended complaint filed today, the prosecution charged Anna Rita Velasquez, 24, with being an accessory to a crime. She pleaded not guilty.

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