By Ruby Zapien
On August 30, 2016, Ronald Antonio was stabbed to death at the Casa del Sol Mobile Home Park in Woodland, California. Six co-defendants have been charged with murder and gang enhancements. These six defendants include Malinda Joy Collins, Justin Matthew Gonzalez, Alexis Ivan Velasquez, Cynthia Maria Tello, Vanessa Lynette Ramos, and Ruby Morningfeather Aradoz. Of the six, Ms. Collins, Mr. Gonzalez, and Mr. Velasquez have been charged with first-degree murder.
Two weeks ago, Judge Daniel P. Maguire presided over the first round of Penal Code section 995 hearings on motions to dismiss one or more of the charges. On February 24, 2017, it was ordered that Ms. Ramos be released on unsupervised OR, and the matter regarding Mr. Velasquez needed to be further researched by Defense Attorney Roberto Marquez, Deputy District Attorney Michael Vroman and the court.
In the afternoon of March 10, 2017, all defendants were present. The two defendants out of custody, Ms. Tello and Ms. Ramos, were seen on opposite sides of the courtroom.
Currently, Ms. Collins is represented by Defense Attorney J. Robert Spangler; Mr. Gonzalez by Defense Attorney Keith Staten; Mr. Velazquez by Defense Attorney Roberto Marquez; Ms. Tello by Deputy Public Defender Ron Johnson; Ms. Ramos by Defense Attorney J. Toney; and Ms. Aradoz by Defense Attorney Jeffrey Raven.
Mr. Raven was not present, and Mr. Staten was to appear later on behalf of Mr. James M. Granucci. Mr. Granucci has handed over Mr. Gonzalez’s case to Mr. Staten due to a conflict of interest in the case.
While the court waited for Mr. Staten, the court proceeded to discus Mr. Velasquez’s 995 motion. The question at hand was whether or not the Grand Jury had been properly instructed on making a finding of “premeditation” in order to find probable cause of first-degree murder.
Both attorneys presented their representation of the instructions that were given to the Grand Jury. Judge Maguire decided that, clearly, the jury was instructed on the special charges related to premeditation and he therefore denied the 995 motion.
Judge Maguire asked Mr. Vroman if he was “seeking death.” Mr. Vroman stated that, due to other engagements, he has not had the proper time to make that decision yet. However, he is hopeful to have that answer by April 7, 2017.
All defendants were dismissed, however, they were welcome to stay and wait for Mr. Staten. Upon arrival, he was welcomed back to the case, on which he had previously worked, and was now brought up to speed on the future hearings.
The trial for this matter is still on the calendar for June 19, 2017. The next round of 995 motions will be regarding Ms. Ramos, Ms. Tello, Mr. Gonzalez, and Ms. Aradoz. These motions will be heard on April 7, 2017, at 10:00 A.M. in Department 10.