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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | Countywide

Jury Selection Begins for Murder Trial

October 17, 2000|TRACY WILSON

Jury selection started Monday in the murder trial of Alfredo Hernandez, who is accused of shooting a Santa Paula market owner during a 1998 robbery attempt.

Hernandez, 22, faces charges of murder, attempted robbery and burglary in addition to various allegations that, if proven, would mandate a life prison sentence.

Prosecutors say Hernandez, a Santa Paula resident, fatally shot 25-year-old Mirna Regollar in the head during a June 2, 1998, holdup at her family-owned grocery store.

The defendant's friend, Jose Castillo, admitted in a preliminary hearing to planning the robbery so he could get money to repay a drug debt. Castillo testified that he persuaded Hernandez to help him and supplied him with a .22-caliber handgun.

The robbery was going fine, Castillo testified, until he and Hernandez saw Regollar reach for a silent-alarm button. Law enforcement officials concluded that both men shot Regollar but that Hernandez fired the fatal shots.

Castillo has pleaded guilty to murder charges in connection with the killing and is awaiting sentencing. Hernandez's trial in Ventura County Superior Court is expected to last two weeks.

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