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Ventura County

Testimony Ends in Trial of Suspect in Clerk's Slaying

November 08, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

Testimony concluded Thursday in the trial of a small-time drug dealer accused of killing a Ventura grocery clerk during a robbery attempt last year.

Richard Geise, 32, is charged with murder and other counts in connection with the shooting of Alejandro Alvarez at Ventura's Central Market in April 2001.

Prosecutors tried to prove that Geise was one of two masked gunmen, along with his now-deceased cousin, who stormed the store, demanded money and began shooting before employees could comply.

But the defense tried to show that another man, Sam Patterson, was the second shooter. Patterson's father testified Thursday that his son, who has since died of a drug overdose, told him before his death that he would probably go to prison for murder. But the father also said his son denied killing anyone.

Geise's defense attorney has maintained that his client was "flush" from selling drugs and therefore had no motive for robbery.

Geise's criminal record includes convictions for transporting drugs, attempted burglary and grand theft.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday morning.

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