By Fiona Davis
WOODLAND, CA – In a preliminary hearing held this past Thursday in Yolo County Superior Court, a judge ruled two teens must answer to several felony charges, including the first-degree murder of a 16-year-old girl that they allegedly committed when both defendants were 16 years old.
In Jan 2020, teens Jacob Oehlcke and Max Ramon Ferrer were arrested shortly after what local police described as a “marijuana drug deal” gone wrong between the defendants and two young women, that resulted in the death of a 16-year-old girl.
During their arrangement in Jan of 2020, Oehlcke and Ferrer were charged with several felony counts, including first-degree murder, with an enhancement of murder committed during a robbery, robbery and attempted murder of the other young woman who was with the victim.
While the crime was committed when both teens were minors, they are being charged and tried as adults.
Both defendants pleaded not guilty to all charges early last year.
When their preliminary hearing began this Tuesday and ended this Thursday, Deputy District Attorney David Lawrence Wilson argued the teens should be held to answer for all charges.
In the prosecution’s closing arguments, Wilson stated that during the incident in question, Oehlcke began to run when the young women accused him of not paying enough for what was believed at the time to be two ounces of marijuana, but was later confirmed to be synthetic marijuana.
Wilson then argued that when the two young women began to run toward Oehlcke, Ferrer then pulled out what Defense Attorney Rodney J. Beede would later describe as an “AR-15 Street Manufactured Criminal” and shot the victim several times.
Wilson insisted Ferrer’s involvement in the murder was clear from DNA evidence and ballistic analysis found during the investigation, as well the testimony of several individuals who confirmed Ferrer’s involvement.
“I don’t need to show [Ferrer’s] the aider and abettor because he’s the actual killer. The evidence is straightforward that he is the shooter. There is admission to that,” Wilson stated.
Wilson also argued that while Ferrer was the one who shot the victim, Oehlcke was “the major participant” in the murder, claiming that Oehlcke had been the one to plan out the alleged robbery.
“What was his role in planning the crime that led to the death? It’s his deal, it’s his robbery…He was the one that met [the victim]. He was the one that stole the marijuana, provided no money, ran off,” Wilson said.
He also alleged previous incidents in which both defendants engaged in “criminal behavior” while “carrying weapons.”
DDA Wilson stated conclusively, “It is the combination of the two of them together, and their pattern of behavior that is consistent, and. ultimately, they should be held to answer.”
While the defendants both continue to plead not guilty, during their closing arguments, the defense attorneys for Oehlcke and Ferrer did not proclaim their clients’ innocence.
Beede, serving as Ferrer’s defense counsel, openly told the court that his client was “liable” for the murder committed in Jan 2020, and claimed that Ferrer had “never denied” his involvement.
““With all the years I’ve been here, I’m not going to sit and tell this experienced court that Max Ferrer does not bear significant … overwhelming liability for what happened … when [the victim] died at his hands, which he never denied,” Beede told the court.
Instead, Beede argued that facts of the case did not support the extreme charge of first degree murder, and sufficiently supported the robbery enhancement.
“If we move it over to a capital murder charge, we are way out of the field of play as presented by the facts of this case,” Beede stated. “This case is not a capital murder case, and this case is not a robbery and a killing in pursuit of the robbery.”
With this argument, Ferrer’s defense attorney said that while his client should be held accountable, the charges should be reduced.
“As long as we are keeping the field of this to a second degree reckless disregard murder, I submit,” Beede told the court.
He also noted that the robbery charge should be considered a theft under false pretense, noting what was sold to his client turned out to be “synthetic nothing.”
Oehlcke’s defense attorney, Michael J. Wise, similarly did not deny his client had been involved in the incident.
But he did suggest that Oehlcke behavior during the incident in question indicated that he was looking to avoid violence with the two young women by running away from them as soon as he received the marijuana.
Wise also argued that because Oehlcke had not been the one to shoot the victim that he should not be held as accountable as Ferrer.
“Jacob as the non-shooter is not liable under the circumstance, and I’ll submit on that,” he told the court.
After the prosecution and both made their closing arguments, Judge David Rosenberg commended both sides for their conduct during the hearing, and spoke to what he felt to be the devastating circumstances of this case.
“This is a completely tragic and senseless case over two ounces of what was believed to be marijuana,” he stated.
Afterwards he stated, despite the arguments made by the defense counsel, that the prosecution had presented enough evidence to hold Oehlcke and Ferrer to all counts.
“There is frankly more than sufficient evidence to hold both defendants to answer for the charges, and to go forward to a jury trial,” Judge Rosenberg concluded.