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Ventura County

A Chilling Picture of Accused Killer

Crime: Vincent Sanchez studied his alleged victims, according to grand jury transcripts.

November 04, 2001|CATHERINE SAILLANT and STEVE CHAWKINS | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Across town in Newbury Park, Megan Barroso was also enjoying the holiday. She had spent the evening at a barbecue and later, watching fireworks at Silver Strand beach, her best friend, Lindsay Gross, told the grand jury.

One of Barroso's friends had brought a container of red glitter and playfully tossed some on Barroso's head. At 2:45 a.m., Barroso kissed Lindsay goodbye and headed toward her Moorpark home.

She never made it. Prosecutors say Sanchez fired the AK-47 he had allegedly stolen from his roommate and that one of the bullets ripped through Barroso's car and into her abdomen.

County Medical Examiner Ronald O'Halloran testified Barroso probably did not die immediately, instead bleeding internally for minutes or even hours.

Forensic scientists later found evidence of blood and specks of red glitter in the truck that Sanchez was driving that night. Roommates said Sanchez appeared to have scratches on his face the next day and that he became very withdrawn, only coming out of his room at night.

Sanchez was arrested on suspicion of burglarizing a neighbor's home. While in custody, authorities said, Sanchez called one of his roommates and asked him to get rid of a bag he had placed in a recycling bin outside their Woodrow Avenue home.

Inside the bag, the roommate found photographs and videos of naked women bound and gagged, authorities said. Women's underwear and jewelry also were found in the bag. A roommate immediately called 911.

Barroso's body was found Aug. 4 at the bottom of a 50-foot ravine in Black Canyon, just outside Simi Valley city limits. It was clad in a T-shirt and panties, with twine near the neck and waist, forensic officials said.

O'Halloran testified he was unable to examine for sexual assault because the body was badly decomposed.

Henke-Dobroth told grand jurors that Sanchez had intended to kidnap and rape Barroso and decided to kill her because she could identify him.

"Unlike the other victims, she was the only one who would have been able to describe his physical characteristics, see his face and describe the pickup truck that he was driving," Henke-Dobroth told grand jurors. "Thus, he carried out the threat he had made to the others and Megan did not survive the attack."

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