[UPDATED WITH CHARGES] Esteban Navarrete, OC Homicide No. 4: Shot in Parking Lot Where Fight Erupted Over Whose Mexican State is Better

maria-rocha.jpg
Courtesy of SAPD
Maria Rocha
UPDATE, FEB. 23, 2:06 P.M.: The Orange County district attorney's office (OCDA) today announced charges against the third defendant in the senseless slaying of Esteban Navarrete.

Maria Isabel Rocha's 17-year-old brother, who is also a suspect, is also identified by the OCDA, which will try Ricardo Guerra Rocha as an adult for murder. Santa Ana police had previously withheld naming Ricardo Rocha because he is a juvenile.

The Rocha siblings could get 50 years to life in state prison if convicted of the charges against them. They are being held in lieu of $1 million bail each and were to be arraigned today in Santa Ana.

Prosecutors are seeking life in prison without the possibility of parole for Navarette's shooter, Ivan Sanchez, who is being held without bail. His arraignment is scheduled for March 2 in the Central Jail in Santa Ana.

According to the OCDA statement on today's arraignment hearing (which you can read in full below), Maria Rocha drove a car and waited for her brother and Sanchez as they confronted Navarette in the parking lot of Mariscos La Ola restaurant in Santa Ana on Feb. 13. The defendants and others who had been at the restaurant had been in a verbal argument that escalated into a fistfight with another group of diners over whose state in Mexico is better. Navarette and his party of diners were not involved in the altercation.

When Navarette got out of his car to explain that to the two males, Sanchez is alleged to have shot him once in the head. Sanchez and Ricardo Rocha then got into the car, with Maria Rocha behind the wheel, and were whisked away.

According to the OCDA, Sanchez and Ricardo Rocha are members of a Santa Ana gang.

February 23, 2011

SIBLINGS TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR SHOOTING-MURDER OF INNOCENT MAN OUTSIDE SANTA ANA RESTAURANT

SANTA ANA - A third defendant was charged today for the unprovoked shooting-murder of an innocent man outside of a restaurant in Santa Ana. Maria Isabel Rocha, 28, Santa Ana, is charged with one felony count of murder with sentencing enhancements for the vicarious discharge of a firearm causing death by a gang member and criminal street gang activity. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison.

Maria Rocha's brother Ricardo Guerra Rocha, 17, Santa Ana, was charged Feb. 22, 2011, as an adult. He is charged  with the same counts as Maria Rocha with an additional felony count of street terrorism. He faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison if convicted.

Maria and Ricardo Rocha are both being held on $1 million bail and are expected to be arraigned today, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

Ivan Sanchez, 21, Santa Ana, was charged Feb. 22, 2011, with one felony count each of special circumstances murder and street terrorism with sentencing enhancements for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death, murder committed for a criminal street gang purpose, and criminal street gang activity. If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. The defendant is being held without bail and is scheduled for arraignment March 2, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail.

On the night of Feb. 13, 2011, Sanchez, Rocha, and Rocha, are accused of getting into an argument with an unknown group of people at Mariscos La Ola restaurant in Santa Ana over which state in Mexico was better. The three defendants are accused of leaving the restaurant, driving to get a firearm, and returning to the parking lot several minutes later.

When the defendants arrived back at the restaurant, 35-year-old Esteban Navarrete was leaving the restaurant and getting into his car with his wife and friend. He did not know the defendants. Maria Rocha is accused of being the driver and waiting in the car for her co-defendants. Sanchez and Ricardo Rocha are both accused of being documented criminal street gang members. The male defendants are accused of getting out of the car and approaching the victims' vehicle. Navarrete, who is not associated with any criminal street gang, got out of his vehicle to explain that he and his passengers were not involved in the earlier argument.

Sanchez is accused of then murdering Navarrete by shooting him one time in the head. The defendant is accused of firing several shots, but the other victims were not hit. Sanchez and Ricardo Rocha are accused of getting back into the vehicle and Maria Rocha is accused of driving the defendants away from the scene.

The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) investigated this case. On Feb. 17, 2011, Sanchez was arrested after SAPD performed a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by 20-year-old Manuel Toscano. Toscano is accused of attempting to drive Sanchez to Mexico to avoid prosecution. Toscano has been charged with one felony count of accessory after the fact and faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison if convicted. Maria and Ricardo Rocha turned themselves in to SAPD on Feb. 18, 2011.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Geller of the Gang Unit is prosecuting this case.



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13 comments
Alex
Alex

I cant. Belive my friend did this :( i know rochas family i grow up with ricardo i dont why maria is ther she wasnt like that she was agood mom :( we never know

Truthshallsetufree
Truthshallsetufree

How about we deport all of these (illegal/legal) small-minded indigenous turds before we become a third-world country.

DKMFAN
DKMFAN

So the shooter wasn't Mexican, but rather AMERICAN, of Mexican desent, he had never even been to Mexico. Rocha, the woman wasn't Mexican, but rather from El Salvador.

I think this was more about a couple of ASSHOLE thugs and less about statehood superiority, but try telling that to the Register!

Mitchell Young
Mitchell Young

She's *28* -- damn. And they say the gueras age badly.

briansays
briansays

if their states are all that great would they please go home

Anon
Anon

See, the thing is pimply-faced scrawny little shits like this guy would get their ass HANDED TOO THEM if they tried to fight like real men. What a douche bag.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

His father and two other people were taking Sanchez to Mexico when their vehicle was pulled over on the 5 at Red Hill Avenue.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Did it ever occur to his father that he should help his son turn himself in and take responsibility for his actions versus taking the moral low-ground and helping him escape justice? Of course NOT -- because they are all a bunch of stupid beaners. The kid couldn't even shoot the right person.

mamas7
mamas7

well now we know which state is the dumbest, to spend the rest of your life behind bars fighting over a state that he has never even been to. His father was from that state but he wasnt, so why fight over it, you were born here you big dummie.

urbanleftbehind
urbanleftbehind

Maybe the state vs. state fight served the same purpose as "Get yo hands out my pocket" did for the killers of Malcolm X.

Claudia
Claudia

You wrote the title this way to say something specific.. Heard it loud and clear, and I just knew I'd find more racist comments when I scrolled down. You got the reaction you wanted Mr. Cocker, I mean Coker.I am a Southern California native and a young woman of Mexican descent. It is the second time this week I've seen the ugly face of racism. To the very ignorant "briansays"You all ARE in our home so YOU please leave. And, yes, Mitchell Young"it is a fact. White, scrawny "Gueras" do age very badly trying to turn their pasty skin brown like ours. That's why so many of those white men love a Latina.

Mitchell
Mitchell

"His father and two other people were taking Sanchez to Mexico"

Hmmm. I wonder if all those UCI professors who claim that immigrants have a lower incarceration (and therefore crime) rate than American natives have considered these sorts of actions.

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