|For Immediate Release
Case # 11CF0470
June 19, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN FACES TRIAL FOR SHOOTING-MURDER OF INNOCENT RESTAURANT PATRON IN SANTA ANA
SANTA ANA – A man faces trial tomorrow for the unprovoked shooting-murder of an innocent man outside of a restaurant in Santa Ana. Ricardo Guerra Rocha, 19, Santa Ana, was 17 years old at the time of the crime and charged as an adult with one felony count of murder, one felony count of street terrorism, and sentencing enhancements for the vicarious discharge of a firearm causing death by a gang member and criminal street gang activity. He faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison if convicted. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Department C-28, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.
Ricardo Rocha’s sister Maria Isabel Rocha, 30, Santa Ana, is charged (Case #11CF0494) with one felony count of murder with sentencing enhancements for the vicarious discharge of a firearm causing death by a gang member and criminal street gang activity. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison. Maria Rocha is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing July 24, 2012, in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Co-defendant Ivan Sanchez, 23, Santa Ana, (Case #11CF0465) is charged with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison. Sanchez is scheduled for jury trial Sept. 18, 2012, in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On the night of Feb. 13, 2011, Sanchez, Rocha, and Rocha, are accused of getting into an argument with an unknown group of people at Mariscos La Ola restaurant in Santa Ana over which state in Mexico was better. The three defendants are accused of leaving the restaurant, driving to get a firearm, and returning to the parking lot several minutes later.
When the defendants arrived back at the restaurant, 35-year-old Esteban Navarrete was leaving and getting into his car with his wife and friend. He did not know the defendants. Maria Rocha is accused of being the driver and waiting in the car while gang members Sanchez and Ricardo got out of the car and approached the victims’ vehicle. Navarrete, who is not associated with any criminal street gang, got out of his vehicle to explain that he and his passengers were not involved in the earlier argument. Sanchez is accused of murdering Navarrete by shooting him one time in the head. He is accused of firing several shots, but the other victims were not hit. Maria Rocha is accused of being the get-away driver.
The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) investigated this case. On Feb. 17, 2011, Sanchez was arrested after SAPD performed a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by now-22-year-old Manuel Toscano. Toscano is accused of attempting to drive Sanchez to Mexico to escape arrest and avoid punishment. Toscano has been charged (Case #11CF0464) with one felony count of accessory after the fact and faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison if convicted. Maria and Ricardo Rocha turned themselves in to SAPD on Feb. 18, 2011.