MERCED - A homicide case from 2010 was postponed again this week after
two witnesses testified during a preliminary hearing in Merced County
Carlos Anthony Gallegos, 29, of Salinas, has pleaded not guilty to murder
and carjacking in the death of Jorge Luis Zamora, 54, who was found shot
to death June 29, 2010, in his apartment on I Street in Los Banos. Officers
discovered the body after neighbors reported an odor coming from his home,
Two witnesses testified Monday that Gallegos had admitted to killing Zamora,
the Merced County District Attorney’s Office confirmed.
One of the witnesses, a confidential informant who was jailed with Gallegos
in Monterey County, testified that Gallegos admitted his involvement in
the murder while he and Gallegos were in custody together, according to
Walter Wall, the deputy district attorney prosecuting the case.
Wall confirmed that witness is also a cooperating witness in an unrelated
homicide case in Monterey County, but the witness is not receiving any
credit or deals for his cooperation in Merced County.
“He’s not getting any benefit from testifying here in this
case,” Wall said.
A second witness also testified that Gallegos admitted killing Zamora.
She acknowledged using methamphetamine with Gallegos in the past, prosecutors
Jeffrey Tenenbaum, said his client “looks forward to his trial.”
“We certainly question the credibility of those two witnesses,”
Tenenbaum said Tuesday. “Mr. Gallegos continues to maintain his
Scheduling conflicts for the defense caused the preliminary hearing to
be delayed and rescheduled by Judge Mark V. Bacciarini for Feb. 23, according
to court records.
The co-defendant in the case, Yadira Garcia Cervantes, 33, of Los Banos,
pleaded no contest last year to a single felony count of robbery in connection
with the case, officials said.
Police said Zamora’s wallet, keys and vehicle were missing from the
home. Detectives tracked the missing vehicle to Gallegos’ home in
Salinas and found some of Zamora’s property inside. Police said
Gallegos and Cervantes were seen driving Zamora’s vehicle in the
days after the killing, authorities reported.
If convicted, Gallegos faces a maximum prison sentence of life without
the possibility of parole, prosecutors said.
Gallegos remains in custody without bail at the Merced County jail.