FRESNO — A young Reedley man was convicted of murder Monday for the death of a Parlier High School student.
Ulises Morales, 23, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Jaime Moreno, 16, in Parlier last year. Jurors also found him guilty of attempting to kill Moreno’s friends Lazaro Ramirez, Brian Ramirez, and Orlando Sanchez.
Prosecutor Michael Frye said that Morales was driving around in his pickup truck, “looking for trouble,” when he saw the four teenagers walking on Costa Avenue in Parlier in the evening on Aug. 8 last year.
An exchange between Morales and the boys led to the discovery that they were from rival gangs. Frye said that one of the teens used a derogatory term toward Morales, who then pulled a handgun from under his seat and shot at the victims through the passenger window. A bullet hit Lazaro Ramirez in the groin area, and Moreno was hit in the back of the head.
Jaime Martinez Lopez, a passenger in Morales’ truck, told the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department that Morales was the shooter, according to Frye. After being arrested, Morales also confessed to being the shooter, Frye said.
Family members said that the Moreno was an innocent victim.
Jurors deliberated for three days before delivering the guilty verdict. Morales faces 150 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on Dec. 9.