The Sutter County District Attorney’s Office dropped the case against one of two men accused of killing a rival gang member in 2008.
Jaime A. Angeles, 34, no longer faces charges of murder, attempted murder, assault with a firearm, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, and participating in a criminal street gang, along with several sentence enhancements, in connection to the 2008 car-to-car shooting that left 18-year-old Angel Madrigal dead.
His co-defendant, Marcelino Ramos Ruiz, 30, still faces the same charges.
The Live Oak men were arrested in February 2017 after confidential informants helped piece together the murder at Gray Avenue and Bridge Street, according to Appeal-Democrat archives. Investigators learned the vehicles were stopped at a red light when the passengers in one of the vehicles fired shots at occupants of the other. Madrigal was struck by gunfire and died. A second occupant in the vehicle with Madrigal was not injured.
At the preliminary hearing in September, an informant testified that both men told him they were involved in the killing – that Ramos Ruiz allegedly told him he shot a gang member in Yuba City, and that Angeles allegedly told him he was an occupant in the vehicle that night and that he needed new identification.
The informant’s testimony came out of a deal reached between him and the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office for leniency on pending cases. Angeles’ attorney, Jesse Santana, alleged Monday that audio recordings used during the hearing were fabricated by the informant, and that Ramos Ruiz wasn’t the person on the other side of the recorded conversation with the informant.
“This proves what we’ve been saying all along – that the DA went to the gutter and found their witnesses … a narcissist, pathological liar with a history of criminal convictions for crimes of moral turpitude and moral dishonesty,” Santana said.
He said Angeles will either be released from Sutter County Jail or transferred to Yuba County Jail where he has a pending case.
Ramos Ruiz’ next court appearance is scheduled for a trial readiness conference Sept. 13. Sutter County Deputy District Attorney Adam McBride did not respond to emailed requests for comment.