[UPDATED with Conviction:] Ricardo Guerra Rocha Guilty of Murder in Shooting Over Best Mexican State

See update at the end of this post on Ricardo Guerra Rocha being found guilty.

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ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 20, 10:03 A.M.: A 19-year-old Santa Ana man is scheduled to face trial this morning for the shooting-murder of an innocent bystander outside a popular Santa Ana taco joint where an argument had broken out over whose state in Mexico is the best.

Ricardo Guerra Rocha, who was 17 at the time of the February 2011 shooting and later charged as an adult, could get 50 years to life in state prison with a conviction.

The defendant, his sister Maria Isabel Rocha, 30, and Ivan Sanchez, 33, had been dining with others at Mariscos La Ola restaurant, 1741 E. McFadden Ave., around 10 p.m. on Feb. 13, 2011, when a verbal argument with another party over who hailed from the best Mexican state escalated into a fistfight.

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Ivan Sanchez
Esteban Navarrete, 35, had been eating with others not involved in the melee, which spilled out into the restaurant's parking lot. As the combatants began breaking up and going their own ways, Navarrete informed his party it would be a good time to leave.

By then, the Rocha siblings and Sanchez had driven away in a gray SUV, but they soon returned to the parking lot with Maria behind the wheel. Authorities now believe they went to retrieve a gun, according to an Orange County District Attorney's office statement.

Navarette was in his car with his wife and friends still inside the restaurant when he was allegedly approached by Sanchez and Ricardo Rocha, who authorities describe as Santa Ana street gang members.

Navarette, who did not belong to a gang, is said to have gotten out of his car to explain he had not been with the people who had fought with them, but Sanchez allegedly whipped out a gun and shot the man once in the head. He is further accused of firing several more shots, but no one else was hit. The gunmen are then to have jumped back into the SUV that Maria Rocha drove away.

Near-Fatal Shooting After Argument Over Which State in Mexico is Best Begs the Question: Which IS Best?

Described as a family man and hard worker at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange for 15 years, Navarette was declared brain dead days after the shooting before his family gathered around his hospital bed as he was taken off life support.

Esteban Navarrete, 2011 OC Homicide No. 4: Shot in Parking Lot Where Fight Erupted Over Whose Mexican State is Better

According to the Santa Ana Police Department, the Rochas and Sanchez were identified through the aid of an anonymous tip from someone who recognized the alleged shooter and surveillance video from Mariscos La Ola. The video also confirmed that Navarrete only glanced over as the incident unfolded in the restaurant and that he never got involved.

Another tip revealed Sanchez was fleeing to Mexico, where he had never been before, before he was taken down on the southbound 5 freeway in Tustin on Feb. 17, 2011. His father, who is from Mexico, was also in the vehicle with two others, who were questioned and released at the scene.

However, after an ongoing Santa Ana Police investigation, the driver of that vehicle, 22-year-old Manuel Toscano, was charged with one felony count of accessory after the fact. He faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison if convicted.

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Maria Rocha
Maria and Ricardo Rocha turned themselves in to Santa Ana Police on Feb. 18, 2011.

Maria 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. She has a pre-trial hearing scheduled for July 24 in Santa Ana.

Sanchez faces the same maximum sentence if convicted of one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. His jury trial is scheduled to being Sept. 18 in Santa Ana.

Opening statements in Ricardo Rocha's jury trial are scheduled to being some time today at the same Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

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Ricardo Rocha
UPDATE, JUNE 28, 12:15 P.M.: An Orange County Superior Court jury Wednesday found gang member Ricardo Guerra Rocha guilty of the unprovoked shooting-murder of 35-year-old Esteban Navarrete outside of Mariscos La Ola restaurant in Santa Ana on Feb. 13, 2011.

Rocha, 19, was convicted on one felony count of murder, one felony count of street terrorism, and sentencing enhancements for the vicarious discharge of a firearm causing death by a gang member and criminal street gang activity.

He faces a maximum sentence of 40 years to life in state prison at his Sept. 7 sentencing.

His sister, Maria Isabel Rocha, 30, has a pre-trial hearing scheduled for July 24. The trial for alleged triggerman Ivan Sanchez, 23, is set to begin Sept. 18.

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20 comments
Joseph
Joseph

Wow! Why, O why did I subscribe to the comments when I left mine? You guys are really fucking annoying! Why don't you get each others' phone numbers instead? Sheesh!!!

Streets
Streets

Well let's go back in history and see............1920's prohibition One family comes to mind.....the Kennedy's I beleive they are white.......and other gangs running liquor, that involved murder and other various crimes.............1930's Pro-Nazi groups promoting anti-american values,  Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd,   John Dillinger, Barker Gang, 1940's Bugsy Siegal, Meyer Lansky and others, 1950's Birth of the Hells Angels,  countless Greaser Gangs, attacking blacks, and Latinos in L.A......birth of black and latino groups formed to combat the terror of whites upon minorities in So Cal, 1960's birth of the Aryan Brotherhood, 1970's birth of the white supremesist, and skin heads, 1980's birth of the Nazi Low-Riders and Pen1.  ...and lastly State Militias all White promoting only white, and if there was any anti-American shit from anyone it's these white militias....so here is your shit at your front door asshole!  Bon-apetit.............   

Streets
Streets

Youre a messenger of racist ignorance, and cowardly comments...........truthful only in youre own mind ...........as far as having to adjust to youre stupidity..ahhhhh no thanks .....I'll just continue to laugh at you.........  

liedetector
liedetector

"I don't need psycho trolls following me around trying to impinge on my good character and free speech." First off, if you had "good character" you wouldn't post the appallingly nasty and ugly things that you do post. And secondly, you must be very unclear on the concept of "free speech". My criticism's of your posts do not in any way shape or form, keep you from continuing to post your idiotic thoughts and opinions.  In fact I enjoy watching you destroy any smidgen of credibility you might have by your constant whining and bellyaching, by all means... carry on.

liedetector
liedetector

"I am not a racist in any sense of the word" There's an old saying "the truth hurts", just look how rabid your response has been to my assertion that you're a racist. I on the other hand couldn't care less if you call me a racist. I know I'm not one and thus, it doesn't bother me.

liedetector
liedetector

"ageofknowledge 8 hours ago in reply to liedetector " ...Cue the "I am greater than you", crapolla."God I'm good, I called that one. You're making me look positively omniscient.

Howard_X
Howard_X

The point being that there was never a time in Socal where the kind of "homogeniety" you fantasize about existed. Sorry you dont like your logic being questioned but i'd advise you get used to it as long as youre determined to make ignorant comments.

Howard_X
Howard_X

So youre talking before the white man even showed up eh?

Howard_X
Howard_X

Just when was this era of "homogeneity" in So. Cal anyways?

Jgfhkdgs
Jgfhkdgs

hope Ivan Sanchez gets what he deserves for killing a comepletely innocent man!!! :(

Streets
Streets

I am a Chicano, don't brag about Mexico...as the U.S. is my home, my dad served in the U.S. Marine Corp, and I have countless uncles, cousins, and a brother serving this great country, however I do tend to defend Mexicans and Mexico from Racist morons........

Streets
Streets

AHHhhhhh No, but I can bet you are tardo!

Rocket J
Rocket J

I prefer living in a dream like state.

JAMIE LOVES REAGAN
JAMIE LOVES REAGAN

I'm Sick Of chicanos and ancor kids Bragging about Mexico then find out they never even been there.. or only where there as babies before they hopped the border. I personally think Mexico is a Fun grungy cheesy place..Mexico is very fun especially if your a Horny man.. Hot in the daytime but cold as hell at night..  also the air smells polluted but its also a signiture smell you cant get anywhere else..  also strolling around Mexico you will see White Looking Mexicans working indoors and the dark skinned ones outdoors begging for change.. I think Mexico's racist toward their own.

Streets
Streets

I would consider you a skid mark!

Bill T.
Bill T.

Aaaaaaaa!  I miss my "like" button. Heads are popping out of cubies left and right to see who's dying of hysterics.

Bill T.
Bill T.

Wow Matt, that beats Bavaria's claim to fame of being the Texas of Germany! Does that mean that if Australia is the Texas of the world that Australia out-Texases Texas? That just boggles my poor little brain.

Matthew T. Coker
Matthew T. Coker

See Dave Wielenga's old Weekly story about Australians being the Texans of the world.

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