Donald Ortez-Lucero and Christopher Nicholas Strong were both ordered Friday to stand trial for murder in the shooting deaths of a man and his baby during a drug robbery six years ago.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White made the holding order on the two after a preliminary hearing in which a detective testified that Ortez-Lucerois suspected of being the gunman who on Sept. 14, 2007, shot and killed both Sean Aquitania Sr., 21, and his 7-month-old son, Sean Aquitania Jr.
Sheriff's homicide Det. Brian Meux testified that a man who previously had been charged as the gunman in the case, but who later had charges dismissed against him, is the witness who provided the information that identified Ortez-Lucero, who is now 28, as the shooter.
Meux said the former suspect and one-time defendant, Richard Noguera, 35, who was a roommate and friend of Strong and Ortez-Lucero, provided the details in an interview conducted while he was in custody.
"He said that Don told him that he had shot ... had hit the man over the head and subsequently hit the baby," Meux testified.
The detective said that Noguera also said he previously had seen Ortez-Lucero in possession of a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun. Authorities said a single .40 caliber shell casing was recovered from outside the vehicle in which the baby was killed while sitting in his car seat.
Authorities believe Ortez-Lucero and Strong, who is now 29, went to a house in the 8400 block of Country Greens Court, near Florin High School, to rob a drug dealer who lived there. Witnesses inside the house said they heard a "bang" outside just before the two gunmen appeared at the door -- followed almost immediately by Aquitania, Meux testified.
Ortez-Lucero told Noguera that the man he had scuffled with outside the house ran inside "and attacked him and Chris, and that the man was trying to take Chris' gun," and that "Chris told Don to shoot the man," according to Meux's testimony.
Donald Masuda, the attorney for Strong, and Charles F. Bourdon, who is representing Ortez-Lucero, both said in interviews that their clients have denied being present at the shooting scene.
Judge White ordered Ortez-Lucero and Strong back to court on June 28 for the setting of their trial date.