|For Immediate Release
April 24, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
OCDA TO OPPOSE PAROLE OF INMATE CONVICTED OF KIDNAPPING MAN, HOLDING HIM FOR RANSOM AND ROBBING HIS WIFE AND FRIEND
SANTA ANA – Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas is opposing the parole of an inmate convicted of the kidnapping-for-ransom of a man and robbery of the victim’s wife and friend. Jose Villaseñor, 66, is currently being held at Avenal State Prison, Avenal, CA. Villaseñor was found guilty 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. Villaseñor is scheduled for a parole hearing tomorrow, April 25, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. at the prison before the Board of Parole Hearings (Board), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Deputy District Attorney Israel Claustro will appear at the hearing to oppose Villaseñor’s parole.
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, a 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.
Villaseñor recently violated prison rules for possession of a controlled substance, failing to report to work, threatening staff, theft of state property, and failing to report to assignments. Villaseñor has failed to follow the 2009 Board recommendations that he participate in self-help to address his long history