still at large as officials focus on recent homicides
Sunday, November 28, 2004
By CARLOS VILLATORO
Register Staff Writer
Murder isn't common in Napa, yet the recent
killings of Adriane Insogna, Leslie Mazzara and Leonicio Pimienta serve
as reminders that Napa
impervious to deadly crimes.
Between 1993 and 2002, there were 19 homicides throughout the county,
according to the Department of Justice. During that same period, there
were 209 in Solano County, 73 in Yolo
County, 145 in Sonoma County
and 39 in Lake
County. In 2003,
there was one murder reported and so far this year there have been three.
prosecutors wait for police to nab the killers of Insogna, Mazzara and
Pimienta, they are busy handling other murder cases.
Anthony Gore, a 39-year-old former Napa
resident, as well as 39-year-old Eddie Hernandez and Linda Lorraine
Hernandez, 40, are on trial for murder in Napa County.
Prosecutors accuse Gore of killing 49-year-old Dennis Wagner, his
roommate, on May 3, 2002. According to Register reports, a fellow
hospital patient found Wagner deceased in his bed around 8 a.m. Hospital
police were called to the scene and found Gore lying on his back in his
bed with blood on his hand.
At a preliminary hearing, Dr. Brian Peterson, who performed an autopsy on
Wagner, testified that Wagner suffered injuries to his head and neck that
were caused by blunt force trauma. Additionally, Peterson told the court
that Wagner was struck at least three times, according to Register
A ruling of not guilty by reason of insanity in a separate case landed
Gore at the hospital in January 2000. Wagner had been at the hospital since
1998. Bob Greggins, assistant district attorney, said a judge granted a
continuance in Gore's trial until Nov. 30, to allow time for a
psychiatrist to evaluate the defendant.
"No cases are cut and dry," he said, "(but) I believe
there is sufficient evidence to convict him."
Eddie and Linda Hernandez are accused of killing their
developmentally-disabled nephew, 4-year-old Ronald James Gray, in 1998.
Paramedics were called to the Hernandez home on Glenwood Drive, according to
Register reports, to help a child suffering from seizures. Gray was taken
to Queen of the Valley
Hospital, where he
was pronounced dead on arrival. Hospital staff found bruises, abrasions
and lacerations on the boy and an autopsy report revealed methamphetamine
in his system.
In late 1998, police filed a complaint against the couple, asking the
district attorney to file murder charges. The district attorney filed
murder charges in 2003, several years after the alleged murder, because
of the complexity of the investigation, according to reports.
A preliminary trial is scheduled for Dec. 17, Greggins said.
Three people are wanted in connection with Napa County
Nicolas Villalobos-Olivera, 31, is charged with the July 22 murder of
Leonicio Pimienta. Police say Villalobos-Olivera shot Pimienta, 50, seven
times with a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun at the corner of Pope and
Edwards streets in St. Helena around 3
p.m. that day. A massive manhunt ensued, but the killer got away. Weeks
of investigations led police to Villalobos-Olivera, whose mother had
dated Pimienta at one time. Also, the suspect once lived with the couple.
"It's still an active case," St. Helena Police Chief Robert
Wedell said. "Our agency follows up on the leads that we get. He is
definitely on the move."
Wedell said investigator Jane Hinshaw is actively working the case along
with Napa County's Major Crime
Investigations Team. Also, police say that Villalobos-Olivera left the
county, but they aren't sure if he returned to his native Mexico.
Villalobos-Olivera worked in a janitorial position while in St. Helena, Wedell said, and he may be currently
working as a manual laborer.
Juan Jose Hernandez-Mendoza is wanted for the Aug. 4, 2003 murder of
Manuel Reyes, a 58-year-old security guard at the Veterans Home of
California at Yountville. According to reports, Reyes offered Hernandez a
ride in a Veterans Home security car. About an hour later, Reyes was
found along Dry Creek Road
with multiple stab wounds, not far from where the car crashed into a tree.
Sheriff's deputies say Hernandez-Mendoza may have fled to Mexico.
Napa Police investigators say Marco Antonio Camacho has also fled to Mexico.
He is wanted for the Sept. 17, 1998 murder of Roberto Carlos
Torres-Victorio, 23. The two were at a quinceañera at the Napa Valley
Expo's Chardonnay Hall. Police say Camacho, a participant at the party
that celebrates a girl's coming of age, gunned Torres-Victorio down after
they got into an argument.
"We have a murder warrant in the system and we've got an America's
Most Wanted episode on this individual," Napa Police Cmdr. Andy
Lewis said. "Camacho is a known gang member, but his victim doesn't
have any ties or gang affiliation."
Greggins said the district attorney's office has not submitted an
extradition request for Hernandez-Mendoza or Camacho.
"The reason for that is the whole law is changing on the first of
January," he said. "They won't be in double jeopardy after the
Currently, the U.S.
honors all court rulings in Mexico. The Mexican government
has recognized that life in prison and the death penalty are cruel and
unusual punishments. If a person who committed a crime in the U.S. is caught and tried in Mexico,
the maximum sentence they can receive is 15 years in prison. Under
current law, the convicted felon cannot be prosecuted again in the U.S.
The new law will grant U.S. attorneys the power to re-prosecute criminals
who re-enter the United States, even if they are acquitted of the crimes
by Mexican courts.
On Sept. 12, 1997, Edwin Njuguna, 24, drove down the 2500 block of Marin
Street and stopped in front of a home where a party was underway. The
party spilled out onto the street and he was confronted by three men.
Moments later a melee broke out in which Njuguna, Ryan Perez, and Samir
Abdalla faced off against four or more hostile partygoers. When police
arrived they found Njuguna dying from stab wounds.
While searching the home where the party took place, officers found a
cache of weapons which included 31 knives, a machete, two bayonets, two
shotguns, four rifles, as well as drug paraphernalia, according to
Register reports. No murder weapon was found.
Police interviewed dozens of witnesses and conducted an investigation,
but were unable to figure out who stabbed Njuguna. Although assailants
told police they attacked the three men, no one would admit to stabbing
Njuguna. Even though there were dozens of people on Marin Street the
night of the murder, no one has come forward to say they witnessed the
"It's an active and open case," Lewis said. "We remain in
contact with the family."
On Nov. 1 a man entered the Dorset Street home of Leslie Mazzara and
Adriane Insogna, both 26, through an unlocked door or window, and stabbed
the two housemates to death. The killer targeted the victims, police
said, and was injured during the struggle. Police scoured the crime scene
for clues and went as far as enlisting the help of the FBI to assist them
with processing forensic evidence collected inside the home.
To date, police haven't announced a primary suspect, but say that
forensic evidence collected at the crime scene will assist them in
narrowing their list of possible suspects.
Wanted by Police
Alias: Nick Ceja
Height: 5 feet 7 inches
Weight: 160 pounds
Complexion: light brown
Villalobos-Olivera is wanted in the murder of Leonicio Pimienta, 50. He
has family in Redwood City and Belmont. The suspect may have cashed his
final pay checks at local businesses in Menlo Park's Middlefield Road
area. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact
investigator Jane Hinshaw at 967-2850.
Marco Antonio Camacho
Height: 6 foot
Weight: 160 pounds
Hair: black (could be shaved off)
Birthdate: September 1980
Camacho is wanted for the murder of Roberto Carlos Torres-Victorio. He is
a known gang member and has a tattoo of an "X" on his right ear
lobe and a "3" on his left. He may also have a tattoo with the
name "Camacho" on his back. Anyone with information regarding
Camacho is asked to contact police at 253-4451.
Juan Jose Hernandez-Mendoza
Height: 5 feet 7 inches
Weight: 140 pounds
Hernandez is wanted in connection with the murder of Manuel Reyes, 58.
Authorities say he has a large mole on his left cheek and three warts on
his right forearm. He has family in the Stockton/Linden area. Anyone with
information about Hernandez-Mendoza is asked to contact sheriff's
deputies at 877-426-4847, 253-4509 or 253-4451.