Alleged accomplice in murder of a local man appears in court
Story by Stephanie Sanchez, Reporter - bio | email
Yuma, AZ--Prosecutors say Elsi Valenzuela is an accomplice in the murder of a local man who was brutally beaten with a bat.
She faces five felony counts in connection to the incident including premeditated murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and dangerous instrument, conspiracy, street gang enticing others and facilitation.
Yuma County Sheriff Deputies said Valenzuela has been sitting behind bars since she was arrested April 23rd on an unrelated charge.
They said since this on-going investigation started she was one of several people arrested on warrants during searches of several homes looking for their main suspect Manuel Bustamante, who remains at large.
But the plot thickens, prosecutors said Valenzuela is Bustamante's girlfriend and she's connected to drug activity that ultimately got an innocent man killed.
State prosecutors said they believe to be a drug related crime where these individuals including Ms. Valenzuela were around attempting to obtain a large quantity of drugs.
They said the third party is a relative of Ms. Valenzuela.
YCSO said the victim 33-year old Kendall Smith was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Judge Gregory Stewart said there is a conflict of interest in the case. Stewart said a family member of the alleged victim is employed within the Yuma Justice Center. He said if the case proceeds to superior court, a judge outside of Yuma County will preside over the case.
Both Valenzuela and Jonathan Rogers Ochoa remain behind bars on one million dollars cash bond.
Email Alert Sign Up
Sign up here to receive breaking news stories from KSWT.com and morning updates to your email inbox.
YUMA, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) - We have an update for you on the missing Yuma teen who hasn't been heard from in more than four months. Right now, police detectives are looking for a person of interestMore >>
We have an update for you on the missing Yuma teen who hasn't been heard from in more than four months.More >>
BLYTHE, Calif. (13 On Your Side) - A man accused of molesting a child is behind bars today, after a hospital in Blythe reported the abuse. Police say they got the call Monday from Palo Verde Hospital,More >>
A man accused of molesting a child is behind bars today, after a hospital in Blythe reported the abuse.More >>
Bob and Barbara Schmidt dashed to their home on a dirt road in a heavily wooded area northeast of Colorado Springs as smoke from what would become the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history filled the air.More >>
A new wildfire in the foothills southwest of Denver forced the evacuation of dozens of homes Wednesday as hot and windy conditions in much of Colorado and elsewhere in the West made it easy for fires to start and spread.More >>
YUMA, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) - We have an update on the passengers injured in a truck rollover near San Luis, Arizona, last week. Today we have learned that all five men are Department of CorrectionsMore >>
We have an update on the passengers injured in a truck rollover near San Luis, Arizona, last week.More >>
SAN LUIS, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) - San Luis firefighters and police teamed up to help five people injured in a single-car roll over early this morning. It happened at around 4:00 am in the desert areaMore >>
San Luis first responders helped five people injured in a truck that flipped over early this morning. More >>
BLYTHE, Calif. (13 On Your Side) - Police are looking for the person who shot a man riding his bicycle. It happened Friday night at around 11:00 pm. Police say a 42-year-old man was riding his bicycleMore >>
Police are looking for the person who shot a man riding his bicycle.More >>
ANDRADE, Calif. (13 On Your Side) - A Somerton man is arrested for trying to smuggle cocaine through the Andrade Port of Entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered the 38 pounds ofMore >>
A Somerton man is arrested for trying to smuggle cocaine through the Andrade Port of Entry.More >>