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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | Santa Paula

Trial Set in Slaying of Market Owner

May 16, 2000|TRACY WILSON

A Sept. 11 trial date has been set for a 22-year-old man accused of fatally shooting Santa Paula market owner Mirna Regollar during a robbery attempt two years ago.

Alfredo "Freddy" Hernandez is charged with murder, attempted robbery and burglary in connection with the June 2, 1998, slaying. Hernandez, a Santa Paula resident, has pleaded not guilty.

He also faces two special-circumstance allegations that make him eligible for the death penalty. Those allegations are that the slaying occurred during a robbery attempt and a burglary.

Prosecutors are expected to announce in the coming weeks whether they will seek the death penalty.

During a preliminary hearing earlier this month, Hernandez's former housemate, Jose "Pepe" Castillo, testified that he saw the defendant shoot Regollar once in the head during the holdup at Junior's Market.

Castillo, 22, admitted that he shot Regollar in the back after he saw her press a silent alarm button. His testimony was corroborated by the county medical examiner, who found that Regollar was shot in the head and back by two different guns. The shot to the head killed her.

Castillo told a judge that he planned the robbery because he needed money to repay a drug dealer. Castillo said he persuaded Hernandez, who was living with the Castillo family, to help him and gave him a gun.

Castillo was also charged with murdering Regollar, a 25-year-old mother of three. He pleaded guilty in March and is expected to serve a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole.

Both men are being held in County Jail without bail.

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