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February 20
1906 - L.A. County accepts Mr. H.C. Register's bid to build (Old) Newhall Jail for $2,237 [story]
Old Newhall Jail


Conspiracy.

One of 16 counts, including the Halloween murder of Alejandro Alex Sanchez-Torrez in Canyon Country, involves the alleged conspiracy between Diamonte Jerome McGhee, Brandon Trevaughn Higgs and Eric Michael Edwards to commit the crime of robbery.

On Wednesday the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office filed felony information paperwork that revealed new details about the alleged conspiracy that lead to the murder of Sanchez-Torrez, plus a different alleged robbery and attempted murder two days earlier.

Under Count Four, McGhee, Higgs and Edwards, all age 17 at the time, are believed to have spent portions of three days beginning October 28 through October 31 at the Canyon Country home of Michelle Hudson. During that time they discussed a plan to commit a robbery to get money and McGhee allegedly showed a .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun to the other defendants.

On Halloween, the day of the Sanchez-Torrez murder, the defendants are alleged to have armed themselves with the handgun and to have traveled to the dry river bed near the 18000 block of Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country.

According to court documents, McGhee spoke with Ricardo Sandoval at the wash and expressed an interest in buying Sandoval’s Nintendo DS gaming system and also selling him marijuana.

A suspect is taken into custody following a fatal shooting in a Canyon Country parking lot. Photo by Elliott Cohen/SCVNews.com

McGhee then left Sandoval and walked a short distance to Higgs and Edwards. All three defendants then returned to face Sandoval. McGhee and Edwards began negotiating a price for the gaming system, and then one or more of them repeated asked Sandoval if he had any money on his person.

Sandoval said he had his money and the gaming system at this home. The defendants wanted to go to Sandoval’s house but he refused to let them follow him. They decided to wait for his return.

When Sandoval returned, “Defendants Higgs and Edwards repeatedly stated, ‘Are we going to do this or what?’ and ‘Let’s do this quick!’.

At that point, according to the filing, McGhee pointed his gun at Sandoval and ordered him to walk down a concrete decline into the wash. The three defendants then followed Sandoval.

McGhee, with Higgs and Edwards at his side, began a shakedown of Sandoval. As McGhee kept the handgun pointed at Sandoval’s chest, Higgs and Edwards rifled his pockets and took what they found.

Higgs and Edwards then stepped back next to McGhee who still had the gun pointed at Sandoval’s chest.

McGhee allegedly fired the semi-automatic three times.

The trigger clicked, but there was no discharge.

The defendants then threw rocks at Sandoval. McGhee ordered him to cross the wash with them at gunpoint.

Crime scene photo by Mark Archuleta

At the north end of the wash (at the edge of the paved portion of the Canyon County Post Office parking lot), McGhee aimed the gun at Sandoval again and pulled the trigger. Again, no discharge.

The defendants then began punching and kicking Sandoval, causing him to fall to the ground. That’s when Alejandro Sanchez-Torrez, 30, an innocent bystander, saw what was happening and ran to Sandoval’s aid.

As Sanchez-Torrez approached from a distance, reportedly carrying a baseball bat, McGhee allegedly pointed the gun at his chest and fired. This time the gun did discharge and one round struck Sanchez-Torrez in the chest, killing him.

McGhee turned the gun back on Sandoval who was reportedly trying to flee and shot him in the leg. The defendants then fled the wash area still in possession of some of Sandoval’s property.

Although McGhee is the only one alleged to have fired a weapon, all three will be charged in the murder.

“There is a law in California that says when you participate in a dangerous felony – and robbery is considered one of these – and a death results, you area as culpable as if you had been the shooter,” said Los Angeles County Sheriffs Homicide Detective Lt. Eddie Hernandez.

The 6-year-old son of Sanchez-Torrez was in the parking lot when his father was murdered.

All three pleaded not guilty to the charges and their court date is set for October. According to the District Attorney’s office a decision on whether the young men will face the death penalty will be made before trial.

The felony information paperwork revealed that in addition to the charges of murder and the attempted murder of Sandoval an earlier Canyon Country robbery incident on October 29 involved McGhee and Edwards in the alleged attempted murder of Nickolas Gordian with a semi-automatic firearm.

During the same incident McGhee and Edwards are being charged with Assault with a Semi-automatic Firearm on Nicholas William Beels, Danny Santana Cervantes, Kristopher James Robinson, Hector Alfredo Sosa and Tim Jang.

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