A probationer accused of fatally shooting a Good Hope resident and dumping his body in a canal near where the defendant had allegedly set up an illegal marijuana grow must stand trial for murder and other offenses, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Gerardo Duenas Jimenez, 48, was arrested in April following a two-month Riverside County sheriff’s investigation into the death of 29-year-old Rafael Quintero.
At the end of a preliminary hearing, Superior Court Judge O.G. Magno found there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial on the murder count, as well as a charge of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.
Magno scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Aug. 6 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
Jimenez is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.
Quintero was gunned down on Jan. 21, and his body was thrown into an irrigation canal near the intersection of Cakes Place and Keystone Drive, in an unincorporated area southwest of Perris and just northeast of Canyon Lake, according to sheriff’s investigators.
The remains were discovered eight days later, prompting an investigation that ultimately led to a five-acre parcel about two miles away at Phillips Street and Robles Lane where, investigators allege, cannabis plants were being illegally cultivated outdoors.
The cultivation site was also serving as a makeshift homeless encampment occupied by an unspecified number of people, according to Riverside County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ben Ramirez.
Deputies destroyed the marijuana grow and questioned the occupants of the property, Ramirez said.
He said sufficient evidence was gathered to arrest Jimenez for Quintero’s slaying, though specifics about what happened between the two men were not disclosed.
According to court documents, the defendant has prior convictions for possession of controlled substances and receiving a stolen vehicle.
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