Man accused in 2008 Temecula slaying to be arraigned Monday

RIVERSIDE – Arraignment set for today was postponed until Monday for a reputed gang member accused of gunning down a Temecula man, then fleeing to Tijuana, where he was arrested by Mexican authorities more than five years

later.

Jose Carmelo Torres, 30, is charged with first-degree murder and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations in the 2008 death of 37-year-old Michael Montanez.

Torres made his initial court appearance this afternoon before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Becky Dugan in Riverside. Dugan rescheduled his arraignment for 1:30 p.m. Monday at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta because that’s where his case is to be adjudicated.

In the meantime, Torres remains held without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside. He was extradited back to the United States from Mexico last Wednesday.

According to sheriff’s investigators, Montanez was killed immediately after returning to his residence on the afternoon of Jan. 13, 2008. The victim had spent part of the day with friends watching a football game at a bar. He had just parked outside the Sage Canyon Apartments at 42220 Moraga Road when Torres, an alleged Fallbrook gang member, pulled up to the location and accosted him, according to witnesses.

There was a brief and seemingly uneventful exchange between the two men, witnesses recalled.

However, investigators allege that as Montanez turned to walk away, Torres pulled a handgun and shot the victim in the upper body, fatally wounding him.

The defendant fled with several other people.

According to the FBI, Torres headed to Tijuana. Within two weeks of the shooting, the District Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint against him. In December 2011, he was federally charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, resulting in a warrant for his arrest.

The Inland Regional Apprehension Team, comprised of local and federal agents, initiated an investigation that culminated in Mexican authorities arresting the defendant in Tijuana last July, according to the FBI.

He was flown to LAX under guard and turned over to sheriff’s deputies at the airport, then transported to Riverside.


Man accused in 2008 Temecula slaying to be arraigned today

RIVERSIDE – A reputed gang member accused of gunning down a Temecula man in an unprovoked attack and then fleeing south of the border, hiding out for more than five years, is scheduled to be arraigned today in Riverside County Superior Court.

Jose Carmelo Torres, 30, is charged with first-degree murder with sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations in the death of 37- year-old Michael Montanez in January 2008.

Torres, who has alleged ties to a Fallbrook-based street gang, is being held without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside. He was extradited back to the U.S. from Mexico Wednesday.

According to sheriff’s investigators, Montanez was killed immediately after returning to his residence on the afternoon of Jan. 13, 2008. The victim had spent part of the day with friends watching a football game at a bar, and had just parked outside the Sage Canyon Apartments at 42220 Moraga Road when Torres pulled up to the location and accosted Montanez, according to witnesses.

There was a brief and seemingly uneventful exchange between the two men, witnesses later recalled.

However, investigators allege that as Montanez turned to walk away, Torres pulled a handgun and shot the victim in the upper body, fatally wounding him.

The defendant fled the location with several people.

According to the FBI, Torres headed to Tijuana, allegedly hiding out there while the investigation got underway.

Within two weeks of the shooting, the District Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint against him. In December 2011, he was federally charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, resulting in a warrant for his arrest.

The Inland Regional Apprehension Team, comprised of local and federal agents, initiated an investigation that culminated in Mexican authorities arresting the defendant in Tijuana last July, according to the FBI.

He was flown to LAX under guard and turned over to sheriff’s deputies at the airport, then transported to Riverside.


Fugitive in 2008 Temecula murder captured, extradited

RIVERSIDE – On Wednesday, March 19, a fugitive wanted for a 2008 murder at a Temecula apartment complex was captured and returned to Riverside County to be prosecuted.

Following an investigation by the FBI’s Inland Regional Apprehension Team (IRAT), the fugitive, Jose Carmelo Torres, 30, was located in Tijuana, Mexico in July 2013. He has been in jail since that time in Mexico City during his extradition proceedings. Torres was extradited and returned today, March 19, to Los Angeles by IRAT members, then turned over to Riverside County sheriff’s investigators.

On Jan. 24, 2008, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office charged Torres with the murder of Michael Montanez. Torres is also accused of personally using a firearm causing death.

According to an investigation by the Riverside County sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit, on the evening of Jan. 13, 2008, the victim and three friends arrived at Montanez’s apartment complex, Sage Canyon Apartments at 42220 Moraga Road in Temecula, after spending the day at a local sports bar watching football.

Torres and four people with him had arrived at the same apartment complex. Torres and the victim spoke briefly in the parking lot before Torres reportedly pulled a handgun and shot Montanez in the upper body. According to homicide investigators, the shooting happened within seconds of the two men speaking to each other and was unprovoked by the victim.

Subsequent investigation led investigators to Torres as the alleged shooter and on Jan. 24, 2008, a Riverside County Superior Court judge issued a no-bail warrant for the arrest of Torres.

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