Case delayed for man accused of a shooting outside a Porterville Office Max
VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Porterville man accused of killing two men outside of an Office Max is hoping the victims' criminal history will reduce his charges. Kamhen Saleh, 22, was in court Friday where attorneys discussed the evidence in a hearing that will ultimately decide what charges he will face.
Saleh's attorneys want police reports detailing the crimes committed by the victims in this case. They are trying to say the victims are not victims. More than 20 of Kamhen Saleh's family members and friends gathered outside the Porterville courthouse Friday to hear from his attorney about the next steps for their loved one.
Saleh was in the middle of undergoing a preliminary hearing in which a judge decides what, if any charges, he will face. During preliminary hearing Saleh's attorney realized they needed more evidence from the district attorney's office in order to keep going.
"One has five previous felony convictions the other has seven previous felony convictions so I want all those police reports. On those police reports I know they've both been to prison and they've both committed crimes of violence so I want all that information," John Jackson, Saleh's Attorney said.
Kamhen Saleh is accused of shooting and killing Adam Verdusco and Omar Calderon as they were stealing a backpack with $44,000 in cash from his car. Saleh's family owns several cash-checking businesses. Saleh's attorney says evidence presented so far has shown the victims tried to run over his client and Saleh only shot at them in self-defense.
"I think he's still in shock when he woke up about three weeks ago he was going to college at Porterville City College, on their basketball team working for his family business and now he's sitting in jail facing murder charges," Jackson said.
Jackson is also waiting for video surveillance that he believes shows the victims followed Saleh from the bank to the Office Max on Henderson, where the shooting took place. He's also waiting for DNA evidence to come back on a knife, and thinks it will show that the weapon belonged to the victims.
The District Attorney's Office disagrees with the defense's theories, and believes Saleh wrongly killed Verdusco and Calderon, and that their criminal history is not a factor in the case.
"It's important to note that whether or not a person has a criminal history it does not change that individuals status as to whether or not they can be a victim of a homicide," Robert Dempsey the Tulare County Prosecutor said.
Jackson is unsure if Saleh will testify during the preliminary hearing. He is scheduled back in court next Friday to make sure all of the evidence they need is in.
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