SANTA ANA, Calif. – A gang member was sentenced to 101 years and eight months to life in state prison today for the murder of one woman, attempted murder of a female bystander and assault of a man. Irvin Tellez, 27, Garden Grove, was found guilty by a jury on Sept. 29, 2015, of one felony count each of first degree murder, attempted murder, assault with a semiautomatic firearm, and street terrorism with sentencing enhancements for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death, personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury, criminal street gang activity, and great bodily injury.
Co-defendant Jaime Prieto Rocha, 42, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty Sept. 4, 2015, to one felony count of voluntary manslaughter with a sentencing enhancement for criminal street gang activity. Rocha was sentenced on Oct. 30, 2015, to 16 years in state prison.
At the time of the crime, Tellez was a criminal street gang member, and was friends with Rocha and 28-year-old Nancy H.
On the afternoon of Aug. 11, 2013, Tellez argued with Vernon R. in Garden Grove, and used a semiautomatic firearm to shoot him in the thigh. Vernon R. was transported shortly thereafter to the hospital, and survived his injuries.
After midnight Sept. 2, 2013, Rocha drove with Tellez into a Santa Ana neighborhood, with Nancy H. in the backseat. The defendants spotted an unknown woman, 31-year-old Elizabeth G., who was standing outside on the curb waiting for a friend to pick her up. The defendants engaged in a conversation with Elizabeth G. and Tellez pulled out a firearm and shot Elizabeth G. in the face. The defendants then drove away and fled the scene. Tellez then turned his firearm on Nancy H. and shot her in the face. Nancy H. slumped onto the back floorboards still alive. Tellez then shot Nancy H. in the face a second time, murdering the victim.
The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) responded to sounds of gunshots reported. Elizabeth G. was immediately transported to a hospital. She survived the gunshot wound.
The defendants subsequently drove to Newport Beach to dispose of Nancy H.'s body. Rocha and Tellez dumped the body off a bridge on Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach.
On the morning of Sept. 2, 2013, NBPD found Nancy H.'s body underneath the Newport Bay Bridge. NBPD and SAPD investigated this case.
After being directed by Tellez to drop him off in Orange, Rocha rented a car and fled to Mexico. While in Mexico, Rocha's rental car was involved in a crash. When Rocha attempted to return to the United States to get a new rental car, he was arrested by Oceanside Police officers who were assisting Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) detectives.
NBPD and SAPD detectives worked together and discovered the link between the shootings, and identified Tellez. While investigating the shooting of Vernon R., Garden Grove Police Department detectives located and arrested Tellez.
At Tellez's sentencing today, Nancy H.'s sister delivered emotional impact statements to court, pursuant to Marsy's Law. She said in part, “The day we went to the funeral home to first see her, she was pale, and I think in my mind I tried to make myself believe it was not her. We could not touch her. I wanted it all to be a nightmare. My mother could not contain herself and fell to the floor.” She went on to read a passage of a Facebook post from Nancy H.'s oldest son, which said in part, “My dreams come to an end just like my mother's death, my heart hurts, my life is bad, just like an old rusty bat and all this pain comes from my veins, to my face, and sleep is the only way to get away. I can't stop crying. I miss you mom.”
Senior Deputy District Attorney Jim Mendelson of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 13HF2731 & 13CF2980 / November 20, 2015