Murder trial begins for man accused of killing Biola farmer

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Prosecutors said Jose Canes killed George Salwasser Jr. after he confronted him while he was stealing rims off of a stolen truck. But on Monday, the defense told jurors there's no way Canas is the killer. (KFSN)

The trial is underway for the man accused of gunning down a raisin farmer two years ago.

Prosecutors said Jose Canes killed George Salwasser Jr. after he confronted him while he was stealing rims off of a stolen truck. But on Monday, the defense told jurors there's no way Canas is the killer.

Prosecutors said four people all worked together on a May evening in 2014 to get a stolen truck from Fresno to a dirt lot south of Biola. But while Canas and Adrian Aceves were stripping it, prosecutor William Lacy said Salwasser Jr. showed up to confront them as they worked to remove wheel locks and steal the rims.

"George Salwasser Jr. tells Jose Canes, tells Adrian Aceves, 'I know what you guys are doing, you're not going anywhere, I'm calling the police,'" Lacy explained.

Salwasser Jr. did call 911 and talked to then dispatcher Karla Keeley.

"I heard a male's voice," Keeley recounted. "He started to say a few words and I couldn't understand the words and then the line dropped immediately."

Keeley wasn't sure what happened so she pinpointed the location the call was coming in from and sent deputies.

"Through the latitude, longitude that we got transmitted from our phone system, we were able to get it within 28 meters of the location, the address given," she explained.

Prosecutors believe the call dropped because the caller was shot during it and dying, but Canes claims he isn't the killer.

"He was not the shooter," defense attorney Ralph Torres said. "He was trying to take the rims off, he had the wrench. He was at the passenger rear when the events occurred."

Torres told jurors that shoes and shoe tracks found at the crime scene will also be important evidence. He claims that where the victim was facing and where Canas was positioned during the deadly shooting eliminates his client as the shooter.

Sheriff's investigators believe Salwasser Jr. was also armed with a Ruger 380 handgun, that gun turned up missing after the crime and was never found. Aceves took a plea deal and will face about 11 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter. In exchange, he must testify against his once friend. Deputies also said Canas confessed to the crime. If convicted he could face 50 years to life in prison.
Related Topics:
newshomicide investigationfresno countytrialbiola
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