By Sophie Marconi
On July 27 in Department 8 at approximately 1:30 pm, the court held a preliminary hearing for Alejandro Loza Quezada, charged with murder. The incident occurred on July 1 at approximately 6 pm.
The first witness called to the stand for direct examination was the previous girlfriend of the defendant. Up until the murder, they had been living together in an apartment with two of the witness’ coworkers. The witness was not able to testify because she could not stop crying to answer the questions of the prosecution. In response to this, the prosecution called upon the second witness for direct examination.
This witness was able to provide testimony without problem. During the direct examination, the witness explained the shooting and the events leading up to it. He explained that he, the victim (who is now deceased) and a friend of the victim all began drinking on July 1 around 11 am at the home of the victim. The witness had been living with the victim for some time, and the victim also happened to be the witness’ daughter’s boyfriend, which further complicated matters.
After the three men drank at the house for a while, they left for a bar around noon. The three drank several beers at this bar, chatted with some friends, and eventually left the bar. After this, they want to the home of a friend of the victim’s for a little while and talked in the backyard. Soon after they went to a second bar, where they saw another friend. After conversing and drinking for an hour or so, the victim’s friend, who had been with the victim and witness the whole day, drove the other friend home because he was too intoxicated to hold himself up.
When the driver returned, the witness noticed that he appeared to be severely intoxicated, and he deemed him too drunk to drive. The witness told the victim that the friend was too drunk to drive, so the victim took away the keys. Shortly after this, the victim drove the other two men toward his home.
During the drive, the victim saw a group of familiar faces and pulled over to greet the individuals and check in. The three men remained in their car, chatted with the pedestrians for several minutes, and then continued to drive back to the victim’s home. The victim again saw a group of people that he recognized, and this time the three men got out of the car to greet the pedestrians. They greeted each other, caught up for several minutes, and then left again.
Later during the drive the victim saw a light-colored Honda Accord in front of him that was driving remarkably slowly. He believed he recognized the occupants of the vehicle, so he pulled up next to the vehicle on the driver’s side. When he saw the two men in the vehicle and realized he did not know them, he stated, “Oh, I thought I knew you.” Next, the accused shooter, Mr. Quezada, allegedly exposed a 9-millimeter gun. At this point, the friend of the victim, who was sitting in the passenger seat, got out of the vehicle and walked toward the Honda.
The defendant then allegedly shot the gun five or six times and then drove away. The friend returned to the vehicle and stated, “I’ve been shot.” The victim stated, “You weren’t shot,” and soon after the two men decided to follow the shooter. The witness then said, “I’m out,” and swiftly exited the vehicle.
The two other men pursued the Honda Accord. The witness walked back to the victim’s home and waited. The witness heard tires squealing, gunshots, and soon after watched the victim and friend return to the home. At this point, he saw that the victim had been shot and blood had soaked through the front and back of his shirt. He immediately led the victim to his personal vehicle and drove him to the ER. By the time they arrived, the victim had lost consciousness. Medics rushed out and carried the victim into the hospital, but were not able to save him.
At this point, the court took a 15-minute break, and resumed at 3:10 pm. Then Deputy Public Defender Martha Sequeira cross-examined the witness. She asked why he came to Woodland, and the witness explained that he traveled from Oregon to live with his family. Ms. Sequeira then tried to create reasonable doubt about whether or not the victim had been involved in some kind of gang activity.
Sequeira asked the witness if he had seen the victim handling any guns throughout the day, to which the witness responded no. She then asked if the witness had ever searched the victim’s home to see if there were any guns hidden away in the home. She then asked how close the witness was with the victim, and insinuated that this could have impacted his judgment, as well as the witness’ ability to observe the victim’s behavior that day.
At this point, the preliminary hearing ended for the day, and was scheduled to resume the following day, July 28, at 9 am.