On February 19, Rene Sanchez was brought into a San Diego courtroom, where he denied killing a man during a Halloween party at an Escondido home in 2007.
Sanchez pleaded not guilty to one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder; he also denied gang affiliations.
Last month, the district attorney’s office unsealed documents that reveal information about the cold-case murder.
According to prosecutor Geoff Allard, authorities in Mexico captured Sanchez and handed him over to Escondido police in September of 2013. Sanchez is described as an American citizen.
On a Saturday night in October of 2007, just before midnight, Escondido police responded to a home in the 2100 block of Pueblo Glen.
Witnesses told police that a group of strangers arrived and went into the backyard; the hostess of the party asked the group to leave. Next, a male host approached the group, a fight broke out, and then shots were fired.
A man was declared dead at the hospital later; he had five gunshot wounds. The party hostess suffered two stab wounds and survived; one other male victim survived a gunshot wound to his back.
An investigator stated that persons hosting the party were associated with a gang known as “Westsiders,” and the group of strangers who arrived were “Diablos,” a rival gang.
One report stated that Sanchez phoned his girlfriend the next day and told her “to forget him and to throw all of his possessions away” and “he knew that one day he was going to kill someone from the Westside.”
Sanchez is currently in custody on a no-bail hold and is next due in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse on May 7.