Three young men accused in the robbery-murder of a Winchester resident gunned down as he sat in his car pleaded not guilty Thursday to first-degree murder and other charges.
Omar Arango, Joe Natividad Orosco and Ricky Martin Ortiz, all 20, were arrested in March following a Riverside County sheriff’s investigation into the slaying of 21-year-old Gustavo Hernandez.
Along with murder, all three defendants are facing a special circumstance allegation of killing in the course of a robbery.
Orosco is additionally charged with robbery and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations, and Ortiz is additionoally charged with two counts of gun assault and child endangerment.
The defendants were arraigned before Superior Court Judge O.G. Magno, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for July 16 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
All three are being held without bail — Arango at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta, Orosco at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, and Ortiz at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Ben Ramirez, the defendants allegedly targeted Hernandez as he sat in his vehicle on March 4 in the 28000 block of Whitaker Street, near Grand Avenue, just northwest of Winchester.
Ramirez alleged that the defendants and victim had a late-night encounter — it was unclear whether he knew them — at the location, during which Hernandez was shot several times with a handgun.
Witnesses called 911, and patrol deputies reached the scene within a few minutes, but Hernandez was already dead, and the perpetrators had fled, according to the sergeant.
The amount of money and other possessions allegedly taken from the victim were not disclosed.
Both Arango and Ortiz were arrested three days later in the Perris area, and Orosco was taken into custody in Riverside about two weeks after the killing.
None of the defendants have documented prior adult felony convictions Riverside County.
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