George Kennedy, District Attorney

David Tomkins, Deputy District Attorney
Gang Unit
(408) 792-2792   For release on January 8, 2004     DOUBLE MURDER FILING   Today, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office initiated the filing of a complaint charging James Ortega, age 14, and Malik Alayube, age 18, with the murders of Diego Gutierrez and Miguel Romero, and the attempted murders of Conrad Salas and Victor Hernandez in connection with a gang-motivated shooting at a fast food restaurant on Tully Road in San Jose on January 3, 2004. The District Attorney’s Office also caused a petition to be filed in Juvenile Court charging another juvenile with these murders and attempted murders. We may seek a judicial determination as to whether this juvenile should also be charged in adult court.    The decision to directly charge James Ortega in adult court was made after careful consideration of a number of factors. These include the defendant’s prior record, previous efforts of the juvenile justice system at rehabilitation, the extent to which he was involved in a criminal lifestyle relative to other juvenile offenders, and the likelihood that he could be rehabilitated within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. We also considered the specific facts and gravity of the crime and the defendant’s role in the matter. The evidence is that Mr. Ortega was the lone gunman who shot and killed two young men and seriously wounded a third.   This is the first matter involving a minor that has been directly filed in adult court in over a year. Since the passage of Proposition 21 nearly four years ago, the annual average number of youth certified to adult court has gone down in Santa Clara County. This is due in large measure to our acknowledgement that the overwhelming majority of young offenders are appropriate for juvenile process, including a fitness hearing when appropriate.   After due consideration and balancing community safety, youth accountability and juvenile court amenability issues, we believe that this defendant and this crime are exceptions to this rule.    # # #

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