Porterville man claims killing outside OfficeMax was justified


Day two of Porterville business owner Kamhen Saleh's preliminary hearing was taken up mostly by defense witnesses.

The defense called Porterville police officer Brett McGowan to the stand who testified that leading up to the August 2nd shooting -- there had been several crimes where burglars followed their victims from the bank before they broke into their cars. And that the victims and cars were associated with some of the crimes.

McGowan said, "It was a vehicle of interest that was involved in a burglary a vehicle burglary that occurred an earlier date."

Prosecutors refuted the relevance to the shooting-saying those crimes didn't end in a deadly shooting or even involve a confrontation.

Saleh's attorney John Jackson then says Detective McGowan told their investigator that he felt Saleh's shooting wasn't murder and was "justified."

Defense Investigator Corey Sumpter said, "Jackson: did he tell you he thought the shooting was justified in this case? Sumpter: yes he did. Jackson: did he use those words? Sumpter: yes he did."

McGowan later denied he said those exact words, adding that he only said the case needed more investigation.

Saleh is accused of shooting and then killing Adam Verdusco and Omar Calderon after he saw them breaking into his car while it was parked at OfficeMax.

Saleh had $44 thousand in cash in the car, meant for his family's check-cashing business.

The shooting ultimately led to the cars crashing a half-mile down the road.

Detective McGowan interviewed Saleh the day of the shooting. He said Saleh told him he was fearful and was trying to protect himself.

While questioning Detective McGowan prosecutors implied Saleh only shot at the men to stop them from stealing his family's money, and that the men never showed Saleh a weapon or had any confrontation with them that could have made him feel he had to act in self-defense.

Attorneys say Saleh could take the stand Friday in his own defense.

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