A panel of Santa Cruz County jurors is deliberating in the case of a 21-year-old man charged with killing two other men inside a Canfield Street apartment more than three years ago.
Jaime Galdamez Guevara is on trial for the murder of 18-year-old Oscar Ventura and 21-year-old Alejandro Nava Gonzalez, 21, after an argument inside the victims’ home in January 2010.
Public defender Heather Rogers told jurors yesterday that her client is no angel, but is not a murderer, J.M. Brown of the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported.
A second man, Juvenal Lainez, is wanted in connection with the murders. The 30-year-old is believed to have fled to El Salvador after the shootings, but may now be in the U.S. again. Rogers has posited that Lainez was the shooter, not her client, though she conceded Guevara might have helped Lainez after the shootings.
Prosecutor Celia Rowland has rejected that possibility, and said a handgun similar to the one used in the crime was found two weeks later in Guevara’s drawer inside a Central Valley home where he was hiding out. She’s also said Guevara got two teardrop tattoos prior to the trial, and that he confessed the crimes to another gang member in jail, among other evidence.
Jurors began deliberating late Thursday afternoon and were due back in this morning at 9 a.m.