Trial begins for execution-style murder at a barn near Chowchilla

April 9, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two men are now on trial for an execution-style murder at a dairy barn near Chowchilla in 2008.

Cameras were not allowed in the courtroom Tuesday, but video from a previous hearing shows the defendants -- Jesus Reynoso Flores and Jose Ventura.

Authorities say they murdered 18-year-old Alberto Ivan Torres just 20 minutes into his first day on the job at a dairy near Chowchilla in 2008. Surveillance video captured the execution style shooting, which a second victim survived. The Sheriff's Department released the images, and someone recognized the multi-colored sweatshirt one of the gunmen was wearing. That led to the arrests of both suspects, who detectives say turned on each other during the investigation.

Ventura's defense attorney, Eric Green, said, "Both of the defendants made statements that directly implicated each other. That's the reason we have two juries in this case, something I've never done in my entire career."

Both defense attorneys and the District Attorney say having two separate juries makes the trial more complex.

Michael Keitz, Madera County District Attorney said, "Procedurally there's different time when the jurors are present, and the court will have to take breaks to accommodate that, and we have to prepare accordingly. So it's a little more time consuming, but in the end it's the right move for the court."

All 24 jurors and five alternates were present Tuesday afternoon as crime scene investigators testified about weapons and ammunition they collected at the crime scene and during two search warrants. All of the attorneys declined to comment about evidence in the case, but Ventura's attorney says he is not guilty... And Flores' attorney, Steven Geringer, had this to say:

"I can tell you this is a case that never should have went to trial. I can tell you more details after it does conclude, but this not a case that should have went to trial."


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