This is the third time a preliminary exam, which acts as a small trial to determine if there is enough evidence to move forward with a full trial, has been postponed in the case since April, 2012.
Juan Manuel Tello, 28 of Modesto, and Alexander Hernandez Lopez, 27 of Salida, have been charged with shooting Robert Ruvalcaba to death in west Modesto, however defense attorneys indicated in December of 2013 that a plea deal may be in the works for at least one of the two suspects originally arrested in early 2012.
Lopez’s attorney Robert Forkner confirmed in December that his client was in negotiations for a plea deal and stated that his client was not at the scene of the crime when Ruvalcaba was killed.
Police found Ruvalcaba’s body in an alley between Martin Luther King Boulevard and North Madison Avenue in Modesto shortly after receiving a 7:24 p.m. report about a man down on Dec. 16, 2011. Several people who knew Ruvalcaba have said he was lured to the alley after stopping at a nearby home and was shot several times in the face, but police have given no specific details about the shooting.
Tello and Lopez have been charged with murder and with cultivating hashish, or marijuana, for sale. Both defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges in February, 2012.
Bail for each man is set at $2 million, and both men are being held at the Stanislaus County Jail, where they have been since their arrests in January, 2012.
Contact Nick Rappley at 892-6187, ext. 31 or firstname.lastname@example.org.