Illegal immigrants accused of violent Central Coast attacks
August 5, 2015
By JOSH FRIEDMAN
Two men accused of committing recent assaults that left Central Coast residents with serious injuries have been identified by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as illegal immigrants, and one of the suspects is now out of jail.
On July 24, a 64-year-old Santa Maria woman was sexually assaulted after a man broke into her house while she was sleeping. The woman was allegedly beaten with a hammer and suffered severe injuries during the violent struggle.
She died in the hospital eight days later. It is currently unknown whether she died as a result of the injuries sustained during the attack.
Last week, Paso Robles police announced a 2-year-old girl had suffered significant injuries, including multiple fractures, as a result of a beating committed by her mother’s live-in boyfriend. The girl had to be transferred to a special treatment facility in Madera because of the severity of her injuries.
Shortly following the sexual assault in Santa Maria, police arrested 29-year-old Victor Aureliano Martinez. He is charged with attempted murder and sexual assault and could face a murder charge, depending on the results of the investigation into the victim’s death.
Martinez is currently in Santa Barbara County Jail, according to Santa Maria police. Martinez is a Mexican national who entered the United States illegally, and he has reportedly been arrested four times in the last two years.
On Tuesday, Santa Maria police charged a second suspect in the sexual assault case. Jose Villagomez, 20, is also charged with attempted murder and sexual assault.
Villagomez was already in Santa Barbara County Jail, following an arrest on separate charges that occurred on July 28. Authorities have not stated publicly whether or not Villagomez is a legal resident.
Francisco Javier Chavez, 27, the live-in boyfriend who allegedly attacked the two-year-old Paso Robles girl, is also a Mexican national. Chavez has an extensive criminal history, and he was deported from the United States in 2014, according to ICE. [KSBY]
Chavez’s prior convictions include assault with a deadly weapon and drug trafficking counts.
On July 30, police arrested Chavez and booked him in San Luis Obispo County Jail. ICE then issued a detainer request.
But, on the following day, Chavez posted $100,000 bail. The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office then released him from jail.
California law bars law enforcement agencies from holding illegal immigrants in jail who are otherwise eligible for release. As a result, ICE detainer requests are non-binding in California.
In response to Chavez’s release from jail, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson issued a statement saying a 2014 court decision prohibits California sheriffs from placing an ICE hold on a jail inmate unless federal authorities issue a warrant for the suspect. Parkison said said he is not happy with the current state of the law on the issue.
AB 4, a bill signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in October 2013, prohibits state and local law enforcement from keeping suspects in jail on an ICE hold after they become otherwise eligible for release. However, AB 4 states under certain circumstances, law enforcement can detain an individual on an immigration hold after the person becomes eligible for release.
Those circumstances include when the illegal immigrant has been convicted of a serious or violent felony. AB 4 also lists specific convictions that warrant an immigration hold. They include assault, child abuse, felony DUI, possession of an unlawful deadly weapon, drug trafficking, crime resulting in great bodily injury and possession or use of a firearm in an offense.
ICE alleges Chavez has convictions that include drug trafficking and assault with a deadly weapon offenses. Additionally, ICE says a drunk driving conviction in SLO County triggered his deportation last year. [Tribune]
Parkinson also said San Luis Obispo County is not like San Francisco, which is a sanctuary city and county. Authorities in sanctuary cities do not hand over suspects to immigration officers.
On July 1, an illegal immigrant allegedly shot and killed Cal Poly grad Kathryn Steinle, 32, at a San Francisco pier. The man arrested for the murder had been deported five times, but he was allowed to stay in the country following a March arrest because of San Francisco’s status as a sanctuary city.
The Tribune reported that the two-year-old Paso Robles girl was in serious but stable condition, as of Monday. Her injuries include a broken leg, two broken arms, a compressed spine, bruises and a significant urinary tract infection.
She also had a 107-degree fever.
An autopsy will take place Thursday for Marilyn Pharis, the woman who died following the violent sexual assault in Santa Maria. A representative of her family said she died of a coronary embolism.