By Elizabeth Cho
FRESNO – An accused killer here in Fresno County Superior Court pleaded not guilty to killing one son of his ex-girlfriend and injuring another—he faces 75 years to life in prison.
Hileberto Valtierra has been charged with five different felonies, three of them being assault with a firearm, attempted willful, deliberate, and premeditated murder, and, lastly, murder. If he is found guilty in his jury trial, as indicated, he faces at least 75 years to life in prison.
According to court information presented here Monday, it all started in December of 2019 when the victims’ mother decided to move out of her ex-boyfriend’s (the defendant’s) apartment. What she had hoped would be a smooth transition, unfortunately, quickly became violent.
When Valtierra arrived at his apartment to find the victims’ mother moving out with her sons, Angel and Angel’s brother, he quickly began to verbally abuse her via Angel. Valtierra allegedly told Angel that his mother was a “whore,” b***h,” and other nasty things. This angered Angel, who spoke back, saying that Valtierra needed to respect his mother.
Once Angel’s brother overheard the fight between Angel and Valtierra, he confronted Valtierra, which led to a physical altercation between the two. Valtierra then told his niece (who was also at the scene) to give him a handgun. He then started shooting.
The bullets were aimed at Angel and his brother, both of whom were hit.
When the Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene, they found Angel’s body, but not his brother’s. They then received a report of a vehicle that was speeding away from the scene, which was, at first, suspected to be Valtierra. Once the deputies stopped the said vehicle, they found the injured brother and his family, who were desperate to drive him to the hospital.
Angel’s brother’s injuries were declared non-life-threatening and he is expected to make a full recovery.
After shooting the two victims, Valtierra allegedly also aimed the gun at the ex-girlfriend, threatening her as well. However, he decided to not fire again and quickly fled the scene.
The next day, the deputies obtained information that Valtierra might have fled to Salinas. With the assistance of the Salinas Police SWAT team, the deputies were able to detain and arrest Valtierra and bring him back to Fresno.
Valtierra has remained in custody on a $4.4 million bail since his arrest. He has pleaded not guilty to all of them.
His attorney, Emily Takao, is arguing self-defense. Since it was Angel and his brother fighting against Valtierra, Takao is claiming that Valtierra grabbed a gun solely to protect himself. And it was this desire to defend himself that, unfortunately, led to the death of one and injury of another.
After Valtierra’s not guilty plea, his case will proceed to a jury trial that will take place sometime in September.
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