Hit and run motorist post bond after killing 75-year-old
A motorist who is charged with killing James Sonny Martinez, 75, in a hit and run accident on Sweetwater Road in Spring Valley has posted $75,000 bond and remains free.
Andrew Wesam Thouzen, 18, of Spring Valley, pleaded not guilty Feb. 14 to hit and run causing death. A preliminary hearing was set for Feb. 28 in El Cajon Superior Court.
Martinez was fatally struck while crossing Sweetwater Road at 10 p.m. on Feb. 7. Thouzen was reported to have driven home and returned with a relative sometime later. He was arrested by the California Highway Patrol at a nearby apartment complex.
Deputy District Attorney Kristina Gil said Thouzen could face a maximum 4-year term in prison if he is convicted. Thouzen was not charged with driving under the influence of any drug or alcohol.
A gofundme page to help Martinez’s family with funeral expenses was created Feb. 9.
“He would do anything for anybody with no hesitation. Even if he didn’t know you, he would do whatever he could,” said his step daughter Delia Martinez to KFMB-TV (Channel 8).
“He loved his grandchildren so much,” said Delia Martinez.
El Cajon man sentenced to 16 years for killing wife
Salem Zora, 51, was sentenced Feb. 15 to 16 years to life in state prison for second-degree murder in the 2013 knife slaying of his wife of three years.
Zora was ordered to pay $5,000 in funeral expenses for burial of his wife, Wijdan Gankil, 39, who was found stabbed to death in their home in the 100 block of Roanoke Road in El Cajon.
Zora made a statement before El Cajon Superior Court Judge Daniel Goldstein saying he was sorry for killing his wife and thinks about it every day. He said he did not plan on killing her.
Goldstein gave him credit for nearly three years in custody including time he spent at Patton State Hospital after a judge determined he was not mentally competent for trial. The hospital’s doctors and a judge later determined he regained his mental competence and was returned here in 2016.
The victim’s family was present for the sentencing but they made no statement.
El Cajon Police officers arrived at the home on June 2, 2013 after Zora phoned them at 7:51 p.m., saying he had just returned home and found his wife not breathing. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene. There was no documented history of domestic violence between them.
Officers found inconsistencies in Zora’s account of the crime and the crime scene and he was arrested for murder. Zora spoke in court via a Chaldean interpreter and he is from Iraq.
Man who struck El Cajon police officer with his car to be sentenced
A man who struck an El Cajon Police officer with his car will be sentenced Feb. 27 for resisting an executive officer and possession of heroin for sale.
Kevyn Andrew Cummings, 28, also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of a drug and resisting another officer in a Feb., 2016 incident.
Cummings is expected to get a 180-day jail term with the likelihood of being released to a residential drug treatment program for one year. He is expected to be placed on probation with conditions.
The heroin case had previously been filed against him, but he had jumped bail and was a fugitive when he encountered the El Cajon officer on Dec. 22, 2016 in the 100 block of North Second Street.
The officer responded to an 8:06 p.m. call about a man sleeping behind the wheel of his vehicle in a strip mall parking lot. When he woke up, Cummings started the vehicle, quickly backed out, and the open door hit the officer, causing a minor injury. The officer was treated at a hospital.
Charges of assault with a deadly weapon, hit and run, transportation of heroin, and failure to appear in court were dismissed when he pleaded guilty to the other charges.