Pedro Valles Guilty in CA Murder of Eddie Cervantes,Mistrial in Penalty Phase

Started by heidi salazar, March 12, 2010, 11:53:26 PM

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heidi salazar

March 12, 2010, 11:53:26 PM Last Edit: April 05, 2010, 09:29:14 PM by Heidi
Death penalty murder trial under way

An audio clip played in front of the courtroom: "Yeah, I killed that [expletive]. I shot that fool." The voice belonged to Pedro Valles, a Bakersfield man on trial in Kings County Superior Court for the 2004 murder of Eddie Cervantes. Valles was recorded on the phone as he talked with different people at the Kern County Jail soon after his arrest six years ago.

"I feel OK about what I did," he said in the recording. "I do what I do and it doesn't matter who I do it to. I don't give a (expletive)."

On the other end of the line, a woman asked what he would plead to the charges.
"Not guilty," he said, laughing. "They gonna spend money on my (expletive) if they want to get me."

As the recording played, 37-year-old Valles shook his head in disbelief or irritation. He has already been convicted of a previous Kern County murder, for which he is now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. The Kings County District Attorney's Office is seeking the death penalty against him.
"I executed him," Valles said in another recording. "They had a video of me. I shot him point blank right in the head. They asked me why I laughed after I executed him."

It happened just before midnight on June 12, 2004. Cervantes, a 23-year-old beef packer and a longtime resident of Lemoore, was heading into the Lemoore Fastrip convenience store on Lemoore Avenue. As he entered, he ran into another man and got into an argument. This man pulled out a .38-caliber snub-nosed revolver and shot him. Witnesses said at least four rounds were fired.

Different reports suggest Valles then walked over, aimed his gun at the fallen man and pulled the trigger again.

Two bullets were taken from Cervantes' body and sent to the Kern County Sheriff's Crime Lab.

Days later, Valles was spotted in Bakersfield walking down the street drunk. Kern County Sheriff's Deputy Marvin Gomez said he tried to talk to Valles, but the man took a fighting stance as if to attack him. Gomez and another deputy subdued him and found a fully loaded .38-caliber revolver in his pocket.

In court on Thursday, Senior Criminalist Gregory Laskowski -- a forensic scientist who specializes in identifying firearms -- said a bullet comparison revealed that the gun found in Valles' pocket was used to kill Cervantes.

The attack was likely fueled by gang associations. Valles has "Los Primos" tattooed across the back of his shaved head, a reference to a Bakersfield gang he is associated with. He also has the numbers one and three tattooed on either cheek, to show his affiliation with the Surenos gang.

When Cervantes was shot, he was wearing a red shirt, which is commonly worn by the Surenos' rivals, the Nortenos.

It was not immediately clear from testimony if Cervantes and Valles had interacted at any point prior to the June 12 attack.

Court proceedings came to an early close on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. The prosecution is expected to continue calling witnesses today starting at 9 a.m. in Department 1 of the Kings County Superior Court.

heidi salazar

Hung jury in murder case

The choice of life or death proved too much for a jury to decide this week.

A mistrial was declared during the penalty phase of Pedro Valles' court case on Wednesday, just days after he was found guilty of first-degree murder.

"As we understand it, the jury just could not come to a decision," said Michael Reinhart, Kings County Chief Deputy District Attorney. "Therefore, the judge has declared a mistrial, but only for the penalty phase of the trial."

Reinhart explained that the guilty verdict still stands for Valles, who shot and killed 23-year-old Eddie Cervantes on June 12, 2004. A new jury will be called to decide on whether Valles should be convicted of the death penalty or sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

The matter will return to court on April 26 to determine future hearing dates and when the new jury will be called.

Testimony was heard for the better part of two weeks before the guilty verdict was read the morning of March 18. Deliberations lasted little more than two days before that verdict was reached, but the jury was then asked to listen to additional testimony to rule on Valles' ultimate fate.

Rosa Cervantes, mother of the victim, took the stand to describe the horrific night that changed her life.

"He was just lying in the middle of the road," she said. "The police wouldn't let me near him. I couldn't breathe and I wanted to die. His body wasn't covered and I kept telling them he was going to be cold."

Eddie Cervantes was shot three times outside of the Lemoore Fastrip gas station. He was a member of the Nortenos gang and was likely targeted because of his distinct red gang colors. Valles, the shooter, was wearing Sureno blue and started a confrontation with Cervantes, who he'd never met.

When Eddie Cervantes approached him, Valles shot him once in the chest. Another man with Cervantes turned to run and Valles fired twice more after him, missing both times. Then he walked over, leaned down and shot the fallen man twice in the head.

Investigators testified that the gun was so close to Cervantes' face that the gunshots actually burned his skin.

Valles was arrested days later in Bakersfield, when he was found intoxicated carrying a loaded .38-caliber snub-nosed revolver. This weapon was eventually linked to the killing of Cervantes.

Valles was previously sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for a murder in Kern County, committed shortly before he killed Cervantes.

The jury debated for three days this week before they informed Judge Thomas DeSantos that a decision could not be reached.


Gang member gets death for killing of rival

The Associated Press

Posted: 11/11/2010 07:14:31 PM PST

Updated: 11/11/2010 07:14:32 PM PST

HANFORD, Calif.--A gang member who provided details of how he gunned down a member of a rival gang has been sentenced to death.

The Hartford Sentinel reports that a Kings County judge on Tuesday ordered Pedro Cortez Valles be put to death after jurors determined last month that he should receive the death penalty.

Valles was convicted of first-degree murder in March, with a special circumstance of being found guilty of another murder four years before.

The Sentinel says during his trial Valles took the stand and told jurors about the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Eddie Cervantes at a gas station in Lemoore in 2004.

In sentencing Valles to death, Judge Thomas DeSantos cited a number of factors, including his testimony in open court about the killing.

Information from :

Photo : Pedro Cortez Valles pictured in court earlier this year.   >:(







The death penalty seriously needs to be reinstated in every state especially those with high amounts of gang activity.
My reason for supporting the death penalty? A murderer has less of a right to live than his victim and already presents a danger while incarcerated for life. They have nothing to lose when the most they can get is Life in prison without parole.

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