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Remembering a ‘good Samaritan’ on Halloween

Posted: October 30, 2013 7:25 p.m.
Updated: October 30, 2013 7:25 p.m.

Shooting victim Alejandro Sanchez Torrez's son talks to a sheriff's deputy after his father was killed in a strip mall parking lot where the youngster was trick-or-treating on Halloween 2011. Signal file photo

 

SANTA CLARITA - Two years after a “good Samaritan” was shot and killed on Halloween 2011 as his trick-or-treating son looked on, the three young men charged with his murder have yet to stand trial.

Officials at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office were asked Wednesday: Why is it taking so long for this case to go to trial?

“It’s a three-defendant, multiple-count case,” spokeswoman Shiara Dávila-Morales said Wednesday. “There is a great deal of preparation involved, and there have been procedural delays that are common for complex cases.”

On Oct. 31, 2011, Alejandro Sanchez Torrez, 31, was shot in front of his 7-year-old son after he stepped in to help a man being robbed at a strip mall on Soledad Canyon Road east of Sierra Highway in Canyon Country, prosecutors have said.

The three defendants, who were juveniles when arrested, have remained in custody for close to two years awaiting their day in court. While appearing before a judge every month on average since their arrest, the three defendants became adults while in jail.

Diamonte Jerome McGhee, Eric Michael Edwards and Branden Travaughn Higgs, all now 19, are slated to appear in San Fernando Superior Court Tuesday for another pre-trial hearing. A date for the trial has yet to be set.

It was July 25, 2012, when San Fernando Superior Court Judge Shari Kreisler Silver ordered the trio to stand trial.

When the case hit the 18-month mark, prosecutors told The Signal they had been working “diligently” but that obstacles continue to impede progress.

“There have been typical pre-trial matters that have come up,” Davila-Morales said in July 2013.

The assistant district attorney assigned to the case, Bradley Lieberman, said pre-trial issues, including scheduling problems and, in July, a change of lawyer for one of the three defendants, have slowed proceedings.

The shooting sparked public reaction on behalf of a child whose father was killed trying to help someone else. A fund for Torrez’s now-9-year-old son was established.

Canyon Country resident Ed Nicewicz said he recalls the shooting vividly and said it’s important to remember the victim was trying to help someone else.

“I would hope that we remember the good Samaritan on this Halloween,” he said Wednesday, “and that we don’t forget his actions.”

jholt@signalscv.com
661-287-5527
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt

 

 

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