Illegals to face trial in Auburn

Pair accused of attempted murder of couple in 2004
By: Penne Usher, Gold Country News Service
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It has taken nearly three years, but it appears two men accused of tying up a couple and setting their Roseville house on fire in 2004 will face a jury trial as early as April in an Auburn courtroom. Octavio Gomez-Perez, 18, and Jose Humberto Magana-Torres, 20, both of Sacramento, are suspected of breaking into the Sun City home of Cesario Pinon, 70, and his wife Sarah Jedryzynski, 69, on June 5, 2004. The two suspects reportedly tied up the couple, burglarized and ransacked the home before setting it on fire, officials said. As the master bedroom of the Apple Hollow Loop home became engulfed in flames, Jedrzynski managed to free herself. "She ran to a neighbor's house for help," said Dee Dee Gunther of the Roseville Police Department. "Pinon was hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation." Roseville Police Officer Chris Nowicki was in the neighborhood investigating a possible stolen car. Nowicki ran into the home, released Pinon and escaped the burning home, officials said. The couple could not be located as of press time for comment. Gomez-Perez, who has been held in Placer County Jail on $4 million bail, is facing 14 felony counts including two count of attempted murder, robbery, arson of an inhabited structure, burglary and illegal entry into the United States. Magana-Torres is in custody on $2 million bail on charges of attempted murder, robbery, arson of inhabited structure and illegal entry into the United States. The case has hit numerous snags making its way to court. Prosecutor Rick Opich said Tuesday there were some problems getting the suspects' statements translated. Both speak only Spanish. Of the original three suspects, Heiner Orlando Villada, 28, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder and kidnapping and is currently serving 24-years-to-life for his role in the crime. Gomez-Perez and Magana-Torres were scheduled for a jury trial in July 2006, roughly the same time the Placer County public defender's office was transitioning to a new contract holder. There was a delay when the attorney representing Gomez-Perez quit, officials said. Additionally, Magana-Torres had been represented by Jessie Serafin, who died suddenly Sept. 19, 2006. Sacramento attorney Dan Clymo is representing Magana-Torres. Gomez-Perez is being represented by Auburn attorney Dan Koukel. The two suspects are scheduled to face a double-jury trial that could begin in late March or early April. "We'll pick each jury independently," Opich said. "We'll do opening statements independently, start testimony and when we get to the point of any statements by one defendant we will have just one jury (in the courtroom)." Motions to keep certain evidence out of the trial are scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday in Placer County Superior Court. Jury selection is expected to begin in late March with opening statements in early April. There had been a deal offered, but currently, "We're not offering a deal - it's a trial," Opich said.