New evidence surfaces in murder of pregnant mom
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Prosecutors presented new evidence Thursday in the case against an accused triggerman in the 2006 death of a woman and her unborn child.
Jose Angel Perez is the last of eleven defendants to face criminal charges in the case. Prosecutors say he's one of two men who opened fire in Feb. 2006, killing Nath Ouch, who was pregnant at the time of the shooting.
Investigators believe Perez fled to Mexico shortly after Ouch's murder. They only caught him late last year. But while he was out of the country, at least two people told police Perez was one of the triggermen who shot at the pregnant woman.
Revenge was in the air in 2006 when members of an Asian gang stood on the grounds of Easterby Elementary School and faced an apartment complex across the street.
"They had walked up in the school," said Fresno police detective George Von Euw. "They waited and then they shot the place up."
One bullet from a semi-automatic rifle killed 20-year-old Nath Ouch and the unborn baby she'd carried for eight months. Investigators found shell casings from the rifle and from a .45.
Fast forward six years and prosecutors finally have the man they say fired that handgun. Ten people had already faced charges in the murder case, but Jose Angel Perez disappeared to Mexico. Meanwhile, at least two suspects were naming Perez as one of the shooters.
Investigators learned the gang members were upset about recent attacks by another gang, and they decided to step up the violence. One of the men, Keo Som, admitted he was at a meeting right before Ouch was killed.
"He said that he saw Angel had the gun in his possession while they were at that get together," said Von Euw.
But Perez's attorney says Som was working to get a deal to avoid murder charges and wasn't being truthful -- even claiming he wasn't in a gang.
"I mean, he was lying through his teeth on that occasion, wasn't he?" said defense attorney Pete Jones.
"He was trying to say whatever he could to make himself look better," Von Euw admitted. Som got 21 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter.
Three other suspects -- including Sokmorn Chea, who fired the fatal shot -- got life in prison without parole. But for Ouch's family to get justice, prosecutors believe Perez is the last domino to fall.
A judge decided Thursday there is enough evidence for Perez to stand trial for the murders. He's due back in court next month.
Prosecutors agreed not to pursue the death penalty to get Perez extradited from Mexico, so he faces life in prison if he's convicted.
crimetracker, shooting, murder, fresno, fresno county, local, corin hoggard
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