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UPDATED: Temecula Fugitive on the Run for Five Years to Face Judge Monday

Jose Carmelo Torres, 30, is charged with first-degree murder with sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations in the death of 37- year-old Michael Montanez in January 2008.

UPDATED: Temecula Fugitive on the Run for Five Years to Face Judge Monday

Update:

Arraignment set for Friday was postponed until Monday for a reputed gang member accused of gunning down a Temecula man, then fleeing to Tijuana, where he was arrested by Mexican authorities more than five years later.

Original story as follows:

A reputed gang member accused of gunning down a Temecula man in an unprovoked attack and then fleeing south of the border, hiding out for more than five years, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Riverside County Superior Court.

Jose Carmelo Torres, 30, is charged with first-degree murder with sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations in the death of 37- year-old Michael Montanez in January 2008.

Torres, who has alleged ties to a Fallbrook-based street gang, is being held without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside. He was extradited back to the U.S. from Mexico Wednesday.

According to sheriff's investigators, Montanez was killed immediately after returning to his residence on the afternoon of Jan. 13, 2008. The victim had spent part of the day with friends watching a football game at a bar, and had just parked outside the Sage Canyon Apartments at 42220 Moraga Road when Torres pulled up to the location  and accosted Montanez, according to witnesses.

There was a brief and seemingly uneventful exchange between the two men, witnesses later recalled.

However, investigators allege that as Montanez turned to walk away, Torres pulled a handgun and shot the victim in the upper body, fatally wounding him.

The defendant fled the location with several people.

According to the FBI, Torres headed to Tijuana, allegedly hiding out there while the investigation got underway.

Within two weeks of the shooting, the District Attorney's Office filed a criminal complaint against him. In December 2011, he was federally charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, resulting in a warrant for his arrest.

The Inland Regional Apprehension Team, comprised of local and federal agents, initiated an investigation that culminated in Mexican authorities arresting the defendant in Tijuana last July, according to the FBI.

He was flown to LAX under guard and turned over to sheriff's deputies at the airport, then transported to Riverside.


– City News Service.

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