|For Immediate Release
Case # 09ZF0058
March 16, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN FACES TRIAL FOR MURDERING ANOTHER MAN BY HITTING HIM IN HEAD AND FACE WITH AXE HANDLE
*Defendant is accused of fleeing the scene in victim’s car and was arrested for DUI
SANTA ANA – A man faces trial Monday for murdering another man by hitting him in the head and face with the handle of an axe before fleeing the scene in the victim’s car. Jorge Santiago Avalos, 25, is charged with one felony count of murder and faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in state prison if convicted. Opening statements are expected to begin Monday, March 19, 2012, at 9:30 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On the afternoon of Sept. 12, 2008, Avalos is accused of going to the Santa Ana home of Hilario Urquiza to drink with the victim. While in the home, Avalos is accused of murdering the victim by hitting him 15 times in the head and face with the handle of an axe. He is accused of leaving the victim face-down in a pool of blood, stealing the victim’s Jeep, and fleeing the scene. The defendant is accused of leaving the axe handle, containing DNA from the victim and the defendant, in the home.
Shortly after the murder, at approximately 6:00 p.m., Avalos is accused of driving with a .16 percent blood alcohol level in the victim’s stolen car. Witnesses called 911 to report a possible drunken driver. At the intersection of Jackson Street and Camille Street in Santa Ana, the Jeep ran out of gas and the defendant is accused of attempting to abandon the car and leave on foot.
The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) responded to the scene and observed the defendant near the car. When contacted by police, the defendant displayed objective signs of intoxication and was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. Officers found paperwork in a subsequent search of the Jeep showing that that car was registered to Urquiza.
At approximately 9:00 p.m., Urquiza’s son called SAPD to report that he had returned home to find his father had been murdered. SAPD investigated this case and linked Avalos to the crime.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Susan Price of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.