|For Immediate Release
November 2, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
OCDA TO OPPOSE PAROLE OF GANG MEMBER CONVICTED OF MURDERING UNARMED MAN BY SHOOTING HIM 13 TIMES
*Inmate was on parole at the time of the murder
SANTA ANA – Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas is opposing the parole of an inmate convicted of murdering an unarmed man by shooting him 13 times with a rifle while on parole. Ernest Arthur Peralta, 51, is currently being held at California State Prison in Corcoran, CA. Peralta was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of first degree murder and one felony count of robbery with sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon. He was sentenced Feb. 29, 1984, to 28 years to life in state prison. Former Deputy District Attorney Brent Romney originally prosecuted this case. Peralta is scheduled for a parole hearing tomorrow, Nov. 3, 2011, at 8:30 a.m., at the prison before the Board of Parole Hearings, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
Orange County Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche will appear at the hearing to oppose Peralta’s parole. The OCDA maintains that Peralta is a threat to society due to his 11 Orange County Jail violations while awaiting trial and 30 prison rules violations. One of the prison rules violations resulted in a 1986 possession of a weapon by a prisoner conviction and a sentence of an additional two years in state prison.
Murder of Reyes Rosales Torres
Peralta was a documented member of a Hispanic criminal street gang. In 1979, he was charged with and convicted of assault with a deadly weapon. In 1982, Peralta was on parole.
On Feb. 7, 1982, Reyes Rosales Torres was leaving a Santa Ana bar with some friends when he was approached by 21-year-old Peralta, a male friend, and two women. The two women and Torres began talking, at which point the women asked Torres to buy them food at a taco truck parked nearby. Peralta’s male friend started an argument with Torres. As the two women, Peralta, and the male friend walked away, Torres made a comment that resulted in Peralta attacking him and the two men began fighting. Peralta also attacked one of Torres’ friends, who tried to break-up the fight.
Torres followed Peralta, who began to walk home and the fight continued in Peralta’s neighborhood. Peralta beat Torres, rendering him nearly unconscious, while his brother ran home and returned with a rifle. Peralta struggled to take the rifle from his brother. As the victim lay on the ground beaten, bloody and helpless, Peralta shot him 13 times in the head, chest and hands, and fled the scene. The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) officers found Torres’ body approximately 30 minutes later with his pants pockets turned inside out, indicating that he had been robbed.
On Feb. 19, 1982, Peralta was arrested by SAPD officers.