Man faces murder charges from 2005 homocide case

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A La Mesa man was ordered March 7 to stand trial for murder in the cold case homicide of a 19-year-old man who was stabbed to death in 2005.

Police witnesses identified Anthony Raymond Rivers, 31, as a gang member in the April 10, 2005 slaying of Luis Vasquez in National City. 

A La Mesa man was ordered March 7 to stand trial for murder in the cold case homicide of a 19-year-old man who was stabbed to death in 2005.

Police witnesses identified Anthony Raymond Rivers, 31, as a gang member in the April 10, 2005 slaying of Luis Vasquez in National City. 

Rivers was arrested Aug. 30, 2017, on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine and being a felon in possession of loaded firearms near where he lived in La Mesa.  However, National City Police detectives began looking at him for the role the stabber played in the 2005 crimes.

Rivers was also ordered to stand trial for attempted murder in the stabbing of Marvin Castrellon, then 25, who was Vasquez’s half brother in the same incident. Castrellon did not testify, but police witnesses testified in the preliminary hearing that he was stabbed in the right side and had surgery to repair wounds.

The meth charges against Rivers are pending and will be a separate case after another judge ordered them to be filed separately from the murder case.  Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Garry Haehnle ordered Rivers to next appear in court on March 21.

Deputy District Attorney Robert Eacret said witnesses told police it was Rivers who yelled the name of a gang before stabbing people. “It was his conduct that started it off -– he should be held accountable,” said Eacret, who added that the stabbings were “a natural consequence” of yelling a gang name beforehand.

His attorney, Brooke LaFrance, argued unsuccessfully to dismiss all charges against him, saying the identification of Rivers as the stabber 13 years ago was unreliable.  One person in court identified Rivers as the stabber, and police witnesses told the judge other witnesses identified him as the stabber.

Haehnle dismissed one charge of assault with a deadly weapon involving a third victim who escaped being stabbed outside a National City liquor store with the others.  He did order Rivers to stand trial on charges for crimes he committed to benefit a criminal street gang.

In 2005, police arrested David Hurtado, also known as Jose Hernandez, and he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and committing the crime to benefit a street gang. Hurtado was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

On Jan. 25, 2017, police arrested Jorge Ibarra, now 31. Ibarra pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and assault, and will be sentenced May 14. A plea agreement with Ibarra indicates he will get up to six years in prison.

Rivers has pleaded not guilty and he remains in jail on $3 million bail. Ibarra also remains in jail without bail.

                                             

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       A jury on March 5 convicted Joseph William Bollacker, 26, of premeditated attempted murder in the shooting of his girlfriend’s brother in El Cajon on May 18, 2017.

      Bollacker fired three shots at the victim after chasing him through an apartment parking lot at 633 S. Johnson Avenue where Bollacker lived.  All the shots missed the victim, but they hit two parked cars, according to El Cajon Police.

       Deputy District Attorney Daniel Shim said Bollacker faces a prison sentence of 27 years to life. He remains in jail on $1.5 million bail. 

       El Cajon Superior Court Judge Lantz Lewis set sentencing for April 3.

 

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A jury has convicted Robert Westbrook, 32, of resisting an executive officer and exhibiting an imitation firearm in a threatening manner to a sheriff’s deputy in a Sept. 8, 2017, incident in Santee.

       Deputies responded to a report of a man threatening to commit suicide at 6:55 p.m. inside a vehicle parked on the Highway 125 just north of the Grossmont College Drive exit. Westbrook left the vehicle with a realistic-looking handgun replica.

        A deputy shot Westbrook, and he was taken to a hospital for surgery to repair multiple gunshot wounds. The exhibiting replica charge is a misdemeanor.

        Deputy District Attorney Shane Waller said Westbrook could face three years in prison when he is sentenced March 21 in El Cajon Superior Court.  He could also be placed on probation.  Westbrook remains free on $100,000 bond.

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