Text messages could tie together two separate Fresno County murder cases

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According to prosecutors Duenas started texting his friends asking if they wanted to rob some stupid people. (KFSN)

Initially, it appeared Gustavo Duenas was a grieving son whose father died right outside his apartment. But as investigators got more answers they had more questions for him and his friend Jorge Rodriguez.

The plan, according to prosecutors begins when Duenas started texting his friends asking if they wanted to rob some stupid people. Duenas' attorney says the messages do not amount to murder.

"We definitely admit, it's not on the up and up. There's some discussion about engaging in theft. That makes him a thief, possibly," said Duenas' Attorney Jane Bolger.



Their plans were briefly interrupted when police say Duenas' father, Jose came over creating problems at their apartment near King's Canyon and Winery. Officers came out and asked Jose to leave.

Minutes later, investigators say he was dead, along with another man named Calvin Reese. Police believe Reese was the target of a robbery and Jose was killed as he was leaving the complex.

RELATED: Hearing began for 2 men accused in a Southeast Fresno murder

Gustavo initially told detectives many stories, but they said most of them did not add up.

"He denied having any involvement with this. He said that if he had been involved he would have been in Mexico already.


Detectives asked Duenas several times if he saw anything, and if he was withholding information about what happened.

RELATED: 2 men accused of killing 2 people, including one of their fathers, will stand trial for double murder and robbery

"Are you telling us the truth? How did you not see who it was that shot your father? That shot Calvin Reese? Mr. Duenas was very specific, I didn't see anybody else out there. That's all I know. That's all the information that I have," said Deputy District Attorney Brian Hutchins.

Prosecutors said Rodriguez was the gunman, who witnesses said kicked and spit Reese as he was dying.

Duenas is the alleged mastermind whose own father died during a plan that tragically went wrong.

The trial is expected to last several weeks. A few dozen witnesses are expected to take the stand.
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