Suspect in Kerman Murders Surrenders to Authorities

July 29, 2009 5:22:08 PM PDT
There are many lingering questions about the murders of Gary and Sandra DeBartolo, including why they were killed.Sheriff's had considered Jose Reyes armed and dangerous. He walked into the sheriff's headquarters with his attorney just after 2:00 Tuesday afternoon. Just as he was arrested, Fresno Police Detectives tied his alleged accomplice to another violent crime just days before the murders.

Michael Idiart says his client had enough of hiding out so he decided to surrender Tuesday. He says 19 year old Jose Reyes told him he had never met the victims before in his life.

Idiart said, "He didn't know them from Adam. Never met them, never heard about them. I'm not going to go into too much of what he told me for reasons which are obvious but I don't think he knew these people at all."

Idiart says his client is young, nervous and afraid. He would not tell us how Reyes knew the other people involved or their connection to each other. He did say Reyes did not know Leroy Johnson or Dawn Singh before last Wednesday.

"Let's say there's at least five people involved. He was remotely acquainted with one individual, knew another person who not named in any of the news accounts."

Sheriff's Spokesman Chris Curtice took Reyes into custody without any problems in the sheriff's lobby.

"He was very cooperative. He was handcuffed and taken back to a secure location in the sheriff's office," said Curtice.

A day after Johnson was arrested; his mug shot was enough to jog the memory of a police informant who told investigators he was to blame for nearly killing another man just a week before the Kerman murders at this Motel 6 on Blackstone Avenue.

Fresno Police say Johnson was violent, armed with sharp objects, and demanded money when he approached the victim at the door of his motel.

"He told the victim it was a robbery and he should cooperate or he would kill him."

Fresno Police say the victim was an out of town visitor who was able to positively identify Johnson through tattoos and other distinctive traits.

The Kerman victims Gary and Sandra Debartolo will be laid to rest Friday.

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