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Man Convicted in Bar Brawl Killing

VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

April 29, 1999|TRACY WILSON

A 26-year-old Simi Valley man was found guilty of murder Wednesday for fatally shooting a machinist after a bar brawl in September.

After a seven-day trial, Thomas Blanks was convicted of gunning down John Regos, 25, in front of a midtown gas station during a fistfight on Los Angeles Avenue.

The fight had spilled over from an earlier confrontation at nearby MVP Sports Bar and Grill. Some men at the bar had shouted derogatory remarks at Regos and a altercation ensued, police said.

After exchanging blows, Regos walked with his girlfriend across the street to a Shell gas station where they ran into friends of the men Regos had fought in the bar.

Regos and Blanks swung at each other. Then Blanks pulled out a small handgun and fired, police said. Regos died after being shot once in the chest.

Blanks was arrested by Simi Valley police as as he drove away. Officers said they found a small-caliber handgun in the vehicle.

The jury deliberated for about a day before returning a guilty verdict.

In addition to murder, the panel found that Blanks used a firearm during the commission of a murder--an allegation that carries up to 10 additional years in prison.

Blanks was also convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He has five criminal convictions in Ventura County, including a 1993 auto theft.

He is scheduled to be sentenced May 26.

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