Trial for 2 Brothers Charged with Murder 6 Years Ago Begins in Riverside County

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By Talia Kruger     

INDIO, CA – The trial for Moses Olaez and his brother Manuel Olaez began Tuesday here in Riverside County Superior Court, nearly six years after the murder of a 25-year-old man.

Moses Olaez is charged with murder and attempted murder, alongside other felonies and misdemeanors including gang membership, concealed carry of dirk or dagger and firearm, and possession of controlled substances.

On Nov. 4, 2016, a group of men, allegedly including Moses and Manuel Olaez, headed to the railroad tracks in Hemet, California, where one of them fatally shot the victim and attempted to shoot a minor who was with the victim at the scene.

On April 6, 2017, the Olaez brothers were arrested for the crime and pleaded not guilty. After six years, the trial began this week.

The prosecution and defense questioned Michael Hall, the law enforcement officer who took over the case in January of 2017.

As Hall was questioned, several key points were made: For one, it was made clear that during various interrogations conducted by Hall that Moses’ story had changed.

Inconsistencies were largely centered, said Officer Hall, around where the group had been prior to the shooting, as Moses had at one point said the group was at the brother’s house, and on a separate occasion had indicated that the group was originally at the Depot Deli, which is located across from the tracks where the murder occurred.

The defense called attention to these inconsistencies, since the two locations were over half a mile away from each other. But Hall countered, claiming that they were only two blocks away from each other, which he didn’t consider to be very far.

Hall also testified that often times during interrogation, a suspect’s story would change when interrogated more than once.

It was also established that, although the location where the chain of events began had changed, Moses remained firm during each interrogation about the events that resulted in the victim’s death.

Moses had stated that one of the group members (either Manuel or another man) told them that he had been jumped, and that this is what provoked the men to go to the scene where the crimes were committed.

Another point of contention was the murder weapon, an M1 carbine riffle. Moses had described the weapon to be a large rifle and had on separate times emphasized the size of the weapon.

Officer Hall, on the other hand, had previously stated that he had never seen an M1 Carbine rifle before this case, and that it was the smallest rifle he had ever seen.

The prosecution countered this inconsistency by establishing through Hall that he had no knowledge that Moses was an expert on firearms like rifles.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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