By Mike Cruz on November 4, 2008 3:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) |
A man suspected in a San Bernardino-area double homicide is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Thursday to determine whether the case will proceed to trial.
Javier Joaquin Luque appeared briefly before Judge Michael Dest in San Bernardino Superior Court as lawyers in the case confirmed their readiness for the hearing.
Luque was charged in the deaths of Ronald Jaramillo and Elizabeth Amaya, both of San Bernardino, who were shot in a Chevrolet Tahoe on First Avenue near 40th Street in unincorporated San Bernardino on Sept. 6, 2006.
Jaramillo, 35, was driving, and Amaya, 30, was in the Tahoe’s rear seat when the gunfire erupted, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
Authorities have not released a motive for the shooting. Detectives tied Luque to the case after he was already in custody in connection with a carjacking case.
Luque faces two counts of murder, plus special circumstances of multiple murder and committing the killings as an active gang member.
The case is eligible for the death penalty, but prosecutors have not announced whether they intend to seek it.
Luque was sentenced last month to 32 years in state prison in the carjacking case.
An armed Luque took a vehicle in August 2006 and left the victims, including a 5-year-old child, on the street at night, authorities said. Luque was even wearing a GPS anklet, affixed by authorities, at the time.
Luque and another defendant in the case, 40-year-old Albert Amaya, were convicted by a jury in April in connection with the carjacking. Amaya was convicted of extortion after he took the vehicle back to the owner the next day and demanded money.
Amaya was subsequently sentenced to 25 years years to life in prison.