For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
INMATE CONVICTED OF KIDNAPPING A MAN, HOLDING HIM FOR RANSOM, AND ROBBING HIS WIFE AND FRIEND AGREES TO CONTINUE PAROLE HEARING TO 2015
SANTA ANA – An inmate convicted of kidnapping a man, holding him for ransom, and robbing his wife and friend agreed yesterday, April 25, 2012, to continue his parole hearing to 2015 in front of the Board of Parole Hearings (Board), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Jose Villaseñor, 66, is currently being held at Avenal State Prison, Avenal, CA. Villaseñor was found guilty by a jury of one felony count each of kidnapping, robbery, kidnapping for ransom, first degree burglary, and residential robbery, with sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a firearm during a kidnapping and personal use of a knife during a robbery. He was sentenced May 16, 1985, to life in state prison plus nine years and four months to be served consecutive to the life term. The case was originally prosecuted by former Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Cafferty.
Deputy District Attorney Israel Claustro appeared at the hearing to oppose Villaseñor’s parole. Villaseñor conceded that the Board would deny his bid for parole based on his lack of self-help programming, vocational training, parole plans, and poor discipline and, therefore, stipulated to a 3-year parole denial. Villaseñor will be eligible for parole in 2015.
Kidnapping for Ransom of Martin Jimenez
On Oct. 2, 1984, then 39-year-old Villaseñor and a co-defendant confronted, pistol-whipped, and kidnapped Martin Jimenez at gunpoint inside a Santa Ana restaurant in broad daylight. They took Jimenez to a nearby motel, where they stripped him down to his underwear, took his valuables, and bound him. Villaseñor contacted the victim’s family and demanded a $4,000 ransom. The victim’s then-pregnant wife Hortensia Lopez and his friend, Robert Mendoza, paid the ransom, fearing that the inmate would kill Jimenez. After meeting with Villaseñor and giving him the ransom money, the inmate forced Lopez and Mendoza to drive to the victim’s apartment, which was occupied at the time by seven children. Villaseñor held a knife to Lopez’s throat while the co-defendant ransacked the apartment. The defendant and his accomplice stole $2,000 in cash, jewelry, and miscellaneous electronics. Villaseñor attempted to steal two of the victim’s vehicles and shot at the victim’s friends as he fled the scene.
The next day, after repeatedly hitting Jimenez in the face and abdomen while making various threats to cut him up into several pieces, the defendant bound and locked Jimenez in the trunk of a vehicle. Jimenez was able to loosen his hands, kick the trunk open, and run from his captors.
Criminal History and Lack of Rehabilitation
The inmate has an extensive criminal history including a prior manslaughter conviction for stabbing a victim to death, vehicular hit-and-run causing serious injuries to a 7-year-old boy, and a conviction for possession of heroin with the intent to sell.