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03-05-08, 06:49 AM #1
Marines to Stand Trial in Murder Case
Marines to Stand Trial in Murder Case
Last Update: 3/04 7:09 pm
Three Marines who had been stationed at Camp Pendleton were ordered Tuesday to stand trial for the shooting death of a 22-year-old Long Beach man in an apparent drug deal gone bad.
Long Beach Superior Court Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani found sufficient evidence to require Trevor Glenn Landers, 20, Anthony Red Vigeant, 21, and Ramon Hernandez, 23, to stand trial in the Sept. 9 slaying of David Pettigrew.
The murder charge includes the special circumstance of murder during the commission of an attempted robbery. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty.
Along with murder, the three are charged with attempted home invasion robbery and first-degree residential burglary, and the complaint alleges that Hernandez personally and intentionally discharged a firearm.
Maintenance workers conducting routine repairs at Pettigrew's apartment complex in the 600 block of Temple Avenue noticed his door ajar the day after he was shot and discovered his body when they opened the door to investigate, according to Long Beach police.
Landers, Vigeant and Hernandez are due back at the Long Beach courthouse for arraignment on March 18.
Officials at Camp Pendleton could not be reached for immediate comment on the defendants' status with the Marine Corps.
03-05-08, 07:03 AM #2
Marine trio to face first-degree murder charges
COURT: Defendants could face the death penalty if convicted.
By Wendy Thomas Russell, Staff writer
Article Launched: 03/04/2008 10:50:31 PM PST
A U.S. Marine who suffered a significant head injury in the Iraq war accompanied two other Marines to a Long Beach apartment last year and shot the tenant to death during a dispute over drugs and a missing laptop, according to evidence presented at a riveting preliminary hearing Tuesday.
Cpl. Ramon Hernandez, 23, was portrayed as a hit man-like figure who joined Privates First Class Trevor Glenn Landers, 20, and Anthony Red Vigeant, 21, on a revenge-seeking trip in September 2007.
The victim was David Pettigrew, a 22-year-old former Wilson High School water polo player who, according to prosecutors, may have been a small-time drug dealer at the time of his death.
At the end of Tuesday's hearing, Long Beach Superior Court Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani ordered the three defendants to be tried for first-degree murder during the commission of an attempted robbery, a charge that could make them eligible for the death penalty if convicted.
She rejected a defense argument that Vigeant and Landers had driven to Pettigrew's apartment on the evening of Sept. 9, 2007, to retrieve Vigeant's laptop and were surprised and "freaked out" when Hernandez aimed a 9 mm handgun at the left side of Pettigrew's forehead and pulled the trigger.
In her remarks, the judge noted that the three allegedly left the crime scene together and returned to their base at Camp Pendleton in San Diego after making a pit stop at a convenience store.
"All three went back in the same car, and all three stopped to get something to eat - namely, potato chips," she said. "That's how 'freaked out' they were. ... It is clear to the court that all three are conspirators."
Sitting next to each other in a courtroom full of more than two dozen spectators, the three defendants were clearly divided: Vigeant and Landers on one side and Hernandez on the other.
Vigeant and Landers, whose physical similarities may be accounted for by the fact that they're cousins, were slender and clean-shaven, their light brown hair cropped short.
Hernandez sported a two-inch-long beard with a nearly shaved head. A long scar extended, like a headband, from one side of his head to the other.
One of two Long Beach police detectives who testified Tuesday said Hernandez had performed two tours of duty in Iraq and received the Purple Heart after a bomb detonated near him, leaving him with head and facial injuries.
Hernandez's attorney asked several questions about his client's physical and psychological well-being. Although most of those questions were thrown out for being irrelevant so early in the legal process, they set the stage for a possible defense based on the defendant's war trauma.
Hernandez, who allegedly gave the most detailed police confession, seemed less concerned about his own fate Tuesday than about whether his cohorts would be held equally responsible for the murder.
As the judge made her rulings, Hernandez nodded emphatically several times. Twice, Comparet-Cassani halted her remarks and asked the record to reflect that "Hernandez is agreeing by shaking his head up and down."
The hearing offered the first complete account of Pettigrew's death.
Basing his testimony entirely on Hernandez's police confession, LBPD Det. Patrick O'Dowd said Hernandez first heard Pettigrew's name while spending time with Vigeant and Landers, whom he described as little more than acquaintances. The cousins, O'Dowd said, seemed fixated on the fact that Pettigrew owed them cocaine and had agreed to buy Vigeant's laptop computer but never paid for it.
Hernandez was "sick of listening to them talk about the guy and not doing anything about it," O'Dowd testified. Finally, the detective said, while drinking beer at Landers' apartment on Sept. 9, Landers made a comment that got Hernandez's attention. He said, "If I had the chance, I'd shoot that motherf---er."
"Let's do it," Hernandez responded.
The three got in Vigeant's car, and Landers drove to Hernandez's apartment, where he retrieved his handgun, O'Dowd said. They then drove to Pettigrew's apartment in the 600 block of Temple Avenue in Long Beach, and plotted the crime by using twigs and rocks to illustrate the layout of Pettigrew's apartment, O'Dowd said.
The defendants "likened it to the way they do it in the Marine Corps - when they're planning a mission," the detective said.
On the way to Long Beach, O'Dowd testified, Hernandez asked, "Are you sure you want me to shoot this guy?" and his co-defendants replied, "Yes."
The three entered Pettigrew's apartment through an unlocked front door, roused the victim - who appeared to have been passed out on the couch - and demanded Vigeant's laptop as well as cocaine, according to O'Dowd. Pettigrew tried to dial his drug dealer but couldn't manipulate his cell phone properly because of his own drug-induced state, O'Dowd said.
Finally, Hernandez removed the gun from his waistband and pointed it at Pettigrew. He told Pettigrew that he'd count to 10; if Pettigrew hadn't contacted someone by phone, he'd shoot.
Hernandez counted slowly, letting about five seconds pass between each number.
"When he finally did reach the No. 10, he shot the victim on the left side of his head," O'Dowd said. "By the time he reached No. 7, (Hernandez) knew he was going to shoot the victim."
Afterward, Landers and Vigeant became hysterical but eventually all three returned to their barracks in San Diego, O'Dowd said.
Pettigrew was found the following morning. His cell phone, which connected him to Landers, was still in his hand. The laptop was found in his truck parked outside.
03-05-08, 08:00 PM #3
3 Marines may face death penalty in Calif. shooting
The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Mar 5, 2008 9:27:28 EST
LONG BEACH, Calif. — A judge has ordered three Marines to stand trial on a murder charge that could mean the death penalty if they’re convicted.
The civilian judge in Long Beach, Calif., ruled Tuesday that Cpl. Ramon Hernandez, 23; Pfc. Glenn Landers, 20; and Pfc. Anthony Vigeant, 21, should be tried on a charge of first-degree murder during an attempted armed robbery.
The three are accused in the death of David Pettigrew.
Long Beach Police Detective Patrick O’Dowd said Hernandez admitted shooting Pettigrew last fall. The detective said Pettigrew was shot because Landers and Vigeant claimed he owed them cocaine and money.
Hernandez, who was awarded a Purple Heart after sustaining a significant head injury during the Iraq war, had been stationed at Camp Pendleton with Landers and Vigeant, who are cousins.
03-05-08, 08:16 PM #4
Marines Could Face Death Penalty In SoCal Shooting
LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) ― Three U.S. Marines could face the death penalty after a judge's ruling in the shooting death of a man in Long Beach.
A Superior Court judge decided that corporal Ramon Hernandez and private first class Glenn Landers and private first class Anthony Vigeant face trial for first-degree murder during an attempted armed robbery.
Long Beach Police Detective Patrick O'Dowd says Hernandez confessed he shot David Pettigrew. Landers and Vigeant claimed the 22-year-old victim owed them cocaine and cash for a laptop he had promised to buy.
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