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Attorneys try to discredit witness to fatal shooting

Man said he was attempting to purchase marijuana

Posted: July 14, 2012 4:11 p.m.
Updated: July 14, 2012 4:08 p.m.
 

 SAN FERNANDO — Defense attorneys tried to discount key witness testimony Friday at a preliminary hearing for three young men charged with a murder last Halloween in Canyon Country.

Ricardo Sandoval, who was shot during a robbery attempt that resulted in another man’s murder Oct. 31, testified Thursday the three suspects tried to rob him, and the four got in a fight.

On Friday, defense attorney Justine M. Esack asked Sandoval about his drug use and questioned his ability to identify the shooter.

Sandoval said he sometimes smokes marijuana and was interested in buying $5 worth of the drug from the three men before the fight began.

When questioned about a criminal background, Sandoval said he’d only been convicted of a misdemeanor driving-under-the-influence charge about a decade ago.

Under continued questioning, Sandoval said he wasn’t able to identify the shooter when he was shown a series of photographs at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital because he was under the influence of morphine.

The witness has said he couldn’t identify the three beyond the colors of their shirts. The trio wore red, black and white shirts, he said.

On hand for the preliminary hearing — held to determine whether there’s sufficient evidence for a trial — were suspects Diamonte Jerome McGhee and Eric Michael Edwards, both 18, and Branden Travaughn Higgs, 17. McGhee is suspected of being the trigger man.

They are accused of killing Alejandro Sanchez Torrez after he attempted to stop them from robbing Sandoval in the strip mall where the Canyon Country Post Office is located.

Torrez was with his 7-year-old son when he was killed.

The preliminary hearing will continue July 23, a court official said.

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