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Coroner Rules Oxnard Man's Death a Homicide

Autopsy shows a nursery worker died of a rare disturbance to his heart caused by a punch.

June 06, 2003|Holly Wolcott | Times Staff Writer

An autopsy has determined that an Oxnard man's death after a fight with a co-worker was a homicide, officials said Thursday.

Ivan Rodriguez, 20, died of a rare electrical disturbance to his heart caused by a punch, Ventura County coroner's officials said.

Rodriguez died Tuesday afternoon at a Camarillo hospital shortly after brawling with 32-year-old Ricardo Garcia Fuerta at their workplace at Colorful Gardens nursery in the 3800 block of Somis Road in Somis.

Fuerta had been in custody since Tuesday evening on suspicion of manslaughter but was released from jail Thursday afternoon.

Authorities have 48 hours from the time a person is booked to decide whether to file charges.

"There is no dispute that they were fighting, but we're still looking at culpability," said Ventura County Sheriff's Department spokesman Eric Nishimoto. "Our investigation is going to continue, but right now we had to release Mr. Fuerta because there is not enough evidence to justify any kind of criminal filing."

Authorities said earlier this week that Fuerta was cooperating with authorities. Nishimoto declined to comment on the reason why the men were fighting.

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