A man accused of the fatal shooting of another man outside an East Valinda house party more than two years ago was released from jail Wednesday after a jury hung for the second time, authorities said.
Jonathan Lopez, 20, of La Puente was released from custody after Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials announced they would not re-file the case, according to court officials and records.
Lopez had been behind bars since September of 2010, when he was identified as a suspect in the Feb. 27, 2010, fatal shooting of 24-year-old Emilio Borges of Hacienda Heights in the 17000 block of Boulay Street in East Valinda.
Lopez was arrested Sept. 30, 2010, following seven months of investigation by detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
A jury deadlocked on a verdict in the case on June 8, resulting in a mistrial, then again in the second trial, which concluded Sept. 24, Deputy District Attorney Robert Serna said.
At a hearing Wednesday, the prosecution announced it would not re-file the murder case against Lopez, officials said.
Though 17-years-old at the time of the killing, Lopez was charged as an adult.
The defense attorney in the case could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Borges was leaving the party in a car with another man and woman when a shooter opened fire on the occupants, fatally wounding Borges and inflicting a graze wound to the other man inside the car, Sgt. Brian Schoonmaker of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said shortly after Lopez’s arrest.
Emilio Borges’ uncle, Lawrence Ruiz, said he was disappointed by the news and believed the case was damaged because witnesses were afraid to come forward and cooperate with investigators. “Nobody wanted to come out,” he said.
Serna and detectives said they believed there were numerous witnesses to the shooting who never came forward.
“There was testimony that the main eyewitness was threatened in the week before trial,” Serna said.
“It’s injustice,” Ruiz said. “He’s walking free while my nephew is in the ground.”
A husband and father of two, the uncle said, Borges was “a family man.”
“He’d take the shirt off his back if you needed it,” Ruiz added.
Borges was attending Mt. SAC and learning the welding trade, his uncle said.
“He had his whole life ahead of him.”
The investigation continues.
Ruiz urged anyone with information to come forward. “It’s the right thing to do,” he said.
PHOTO of Emilio Borges: courtesy