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A spree that wasn’t stopped

Suspect in fatal robbery is accused of several gun crimes prior to Oct. 31, according to records

Posted: November 27, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: November 27, 2011 1:30 a.m.

Sheriff’s officials talk at the scene of a shooting in the parking lot of the post office shopping center on the 18300 block of Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country on Oct. 31.

 

 The 48 hours leading up to the Oct. 31 shooting of a good Samaritan were punctuated by other crimes involving guns and at least one other shooting, all allegedly at the hands of the Halloween shooter, prosecuting documents say.

Six other victims were subjected to gun-related terror before Alejandro Sanchez Torrez and another man were shot at a Canyon Country strip mall about 3 p.m. Oct. 31, according to details of a felony complaint sworn out and signed by District Attorney Steve Cooley on Wednesday.

Three 17-year-old males from Canyon Country are facing trial as adults in the murder of Sanchez Torrez in the parking lot of a Santa Clarita Valley strip mall on Soledad Canyon Road east of Sierra Highway in Canyon Country.

Each of the three is also charged with conspiracy, robbery and two counts of attempted murder.

The trio is identified as Diamonte Jerome McGhee, Branden Trevaughn Higgs and Eric Michael Edwards, but the triggerman was McGhee, according to Assistant District Attorney Bradley Lieberman.

On the afternoon of Oct. 31, Sanchez Torrez, who was accompanied by his 7-year-old son, tried to come to the aid of a man who was allegedly being robbed by the suspects while arranging to sell them a Nintendo DS game system.

The alleged robbery victim, identified in the complaint as Ricardo Sandoval, of Newhall, was shot in the leg.

According to prosecutors, Sandoval’s wounding and Sanchez Torrez’s fatal shooting on Halloween were the culmination of several gun-related incidents during a 48-hour period leading up to 3 p.m. Oct. 31.

The nine-page felony complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court describes gun-related terror involving six other victims.

At the center of the alleged gun-related crimes is McGhee, the complaint says.

McGhee allegedly tried to shoot and kill a man before the shooting of Sandoval and Sanchez Torrez.
The complaint also alleges McGhee, on the same day, used a semi-automatic firearm to “willfully and unlawfully commit an assault” on five other men.

Criminal charges against McGhee stemming from those allegations include: attempted murder and five counts of assault with a semi-automatic weapon.

Details of the additional crimes are not contained in the complaint, but are expected to come out during the trial.

Prosecutors, who already succeeded in having the three accused teens tried as adults, attached a notice to their formal felony complaint outlining plans to be aggressive in their prosecution.

They intend to prove the alleged crimes involved aggravated circumstances, stating in their complaint they “intend to present evidence and seek jury findings regarding all applicable circumstances in aggravation.”

If prosecutors win conviction, the aggravated circumstances could result in stiffer penalties.

On Nov. 17, the three accused men appeared in San Fernando Superior Court to answer to the five criminal charges of which they are all jointly accused: murder, robbery, conspiracy and two counts of attempted murder. No plea was entered.

Superior Court Judge Lloyd M. Nash ordered the trio to appear next month for an arraignment and to enter a plea. All three are being held at Juvenile Hall in Sylmar.

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