Good Samaritan tried to help catch Kerman farmer's killer

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A car thief's elation turned to desperation as a simple crime got much more complicated. (KFSN)

A car thief's elation turned to desperation as a simple crime got much more complicated.

By the time a Good Samaritan chanced upon the scene of the crime, it was too late for George Salwasser, Jr. The 38-year-old Kerman farmer interrupted a pair of men trying to dismantle a stolen truck. One of them shot Salwasser twice before the Samaritan spotted both men running away.

"I was just curious," said the witness. "I wanted to see where they were coming from so I slowed down, so I drive by them and I'd already past them and that's when I saw the field and that's when I saw the guy face down on the ground."

We're not naming the witness, but he followed a getaway car, trying to get a license plate for police and watched as the car crashed into a nearby vineyard. Fabian Mansalanez, his sister Maria, and her boyfriend Adrian Aceves all ran from the car.

Fabian Mansanalez is now on trial for Salwasser's murder. He's accused of stealing the car and initiating the chain of events leading to the shooting. But he wasn't even there when a fourth suspect, Jose Canas, allegedly killed Salwasser. Aceves admits he was, but says he ran almost as soon as he saw Salwasser.

"I got scared because I have never been in a situation like this," Aceves said.

He says he heard two shots as he sprinted towards the road, hoping a getaway would end what had become a nightmare.

"I couldn't believe it," Aceves said. "I thought it was a dream. I was desperate."

Fabian Mansanalez's trial could wrap up by next week. Aceves and Maria Mansanalez agreed to plea deals to avoid murder charges. Canas is scheduled to face a murder trial in November.

Related Topics:
fresno countycrimetrackershootingKerman
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