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California Attorney General's Office files charges in the 2019 Corona Costco case

RIVERSIDE – On Sept. 25, 2019, District Attorney Mike Hestrin announced that a Riverside County criminal grand jury returned a “no bill” in the matter of former Los Angeles Police Department Officer Salvador Sanchez. A “no bill” means the grand jury did not find that the evidence in the matter rose to the level of probable cause that a crime occurred, which is required for criminal prosecution. The California State Bar requires that prosecutors “[n]ot institute or continue to prosecute a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause.” (CA State Bar, Rules of Professional Conduct, rule 3.8(a) Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor.)  During the grand jury proceedings, prosecutors presented all known and available evidence to the grand jury, including evidence not publicly available at the time. Thus, in accordance with the law and our ethical obligations as prosecutors, the case was concluded.

 

Following this determination by the grand jury, the California Attorney General’s Office conducted an independent review of the case pursuant to their Constitutional and statutory authority. As a result of that review, today, Aug. 9, they announced that they have filed one count of voluntary manslaughter and two counts of assault with a firearm against Salvador Sanchez. The District Attorney’s Office has, and will continue to, work with the Attorney General’s Office to assist them in this prosecution.  The District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation assisted in obtaining an arrest warrant prior to the filing of the current charges by the Attorney General.

 

For any additional information, please contact the Attorney General’s Office.

 

On June 14, 2019, a shooting occurred inside a Costco at 480 N. McKinley St., in the city of Corona that resulted in the death of Kenneth French and serious injuries to Russell and Paola French, Kenneth’s parents. Sanchez, an off-duty officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, was determined to have shot all three.

 

A thorough investigation into the shooting was done by the Corona Police Department and presented to the DA’s Office for review. The DA’s Bureau of Investigation conducted follow-up investigation leading to the case being presented to the criminal grand jury in September 2019.

 

Presenting a case to a criminal grand jury is an option available to the DA’s Office and can be utilized for a variety of reasons, including having members of the community examine the evidence in a case, as well as compelling testimony from material witnesses who may have otherwise refused to be interviewed by law enforcement officials. In this matter, the grand jury heard testimony and deliberated over the course of two weeks, returning the “no bill” the afternoon of Sept. 24.

 

A criminal grand jury is empaneled by a Riverside County Superior Court judge, with 19 members of the community, drawn at random from the general jury pool, to hear a specific criminal case. Once that case is over, that specific criminal grand jury is disbanded. 

 

 

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Author: John Hall
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