Hearing delayed for man facing two counts of second-degree murder

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A motorist accused of two counts of murder in the deaths of two passengers in East County had his preliminary hearing delayed to Aug. 22

Ryan Gary Renz, 24, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the Jan. 25 deaths of Jonny Ray Meyer, Jr., 23, and Dillon Cody Wiltfong, 26, both of Campo.

A motorist accused of two counts of murder in the deaths of two passengers in East County had his preliminary hearing delayed to Aug. 22

Ryan Gary Renz, 24, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the Jan. 25 deaths of Jonny Ray Meyer, Jr., 23, and Dillon Cody Wiltfong, 26, both of Campo.

He is also charged with two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. He has pleaded not guilty in El Cajon Superior Court.

Renz was driving a vehicle at a high rate of speed on Buckman Springs Road when his car crashed into a tree. It rolled over several times before coming to rest on its roof shortly before 7 p.m.

Murder charges were filed because Renz was previously convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in 2016, said Deputy District Attorney Laura Evans.

He remains in jail on $3 million bail.

Trial begins for man accused of shooting Jacumba pastor

Opening statements and testimony began Monday, June 12 in the murder trial of a man accused of shooting the pastor of the Grace Baptist church in Jacumba.

Craig Hodson, 55, was shot to death Oct. 16, 2016 after he gave an eviction notice to Paul David Carr, 61, who rented a cabin on Hodson’s property on Old Highway 80 in East County.

A jury was sworn in June 8 by El Cajon Superior Court Judge John Thompson. Carr has pleaded not guilty and remains in jail on $1 million bail.

Hodson was shot in the chest and a bullet pierced both lungs and went into his aorta, according to the deputy medical examiner. He was also shot in the back and was found in his garage.

The trial may last several weeks.

Santee woman to pay restitution, go to drug treatment in identity theft case

A Santee woman was ordered June 6 to pay an identity theft victim $124 and participate in an outpatient drug treatment program after stealing a woman’s credit card.

Maria Nancy Gaffney, 32, was given credit for time served in jail and placed on three years probation. Gaffney and her attorney asked for immediate sentencing from El Cajon Superior Court Judge Patricia Cookson after she pleaded guilty to identity theft.

Deputy District Attorney Clayton Carr said if Gaffney is successful on probation, her conviction might be set aside in 18 months and the charge substituted for shoplifting.

Meanwhile, the preliminary hearing for co-defendant Frank Robert Kennedy, 36, of Santee, was delayed until July 6. He has pleaded not guilty to five charges.

Kennedy is accused of possessing personal identification of 10 people, felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, possession of methamphetamine and narcotics paraphernalia.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Gaffney and Kennedy on May 24 after images of Gaffney were broadcast and published of her was making an unauthorized purchase at the Walmart store in Santee.

An East County woman discovered she was the victim of identity theft on April 1 when her credit card information was used at Walmart.

Deputies visited Kennedy during a probation compliance check and a search of the property resulted in the discovery of stolen mail, stolen identification cards, and stolen Social Security cards.

“We’re still investigating,” said Carr.

Kennedy was on probation at the time for identity theft. He remains in the George Bailey Detention Facility on $150,000 bail.

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