SAN JOSE – 21-year-old Jose Eduardo Cortez was arrested for the crime of PC 215 – carjacking, and for PC 245 (a)(1) – assault with a deadly weapon. On July 5, 2011 Cortez is accused of joining up with seven juvenile and young adult gang members who had taken a victim’s vehicle by force and or by the use of intimidation.
The court had issued a $100,000 bail for his arrest. Cortez was able to avoid capture until a recent arrest brought him back to San Jose from Mexico. Cortez denies being at the scene of the crime at the time of the carjacking. He has pleaded not guilty on July 24 in Dept 30, and says that he was in Mexico, and was not there at the time of the incident.
Court documents reveal that on July 5, 2011 near the area of Roundtable Drive and Bendorf Street in San Jose, the victim was kicked and pulled to the ground in an attempt to take his vehicle. When police arrived the victim told uniformed San Jose Police Officers he “was driving home when he saw one of the suspects walking on Bendorf Street”.
The victim was driving a pick-up truck with a box trailer when seven suspects stepped out in front of him and began to throw objects, smashing his front windshield. One suspect was able to open the passenger side door, but was unable to get inside. The victim quickly drove forward and parked to try and close the passenger side door, which he was able to do. Then he attempted to dial 9-1-1, but one of the suspects took his phone. They then pulled him from the vehicle and began to punch and kick him in the head and abdomen area. That is when two suspects entered his vehicle and began to drive away. The victim said he had $1,800 dollars in cash and blank checks in the glove box when the truck was taken.
Associations between the suspects were later identified using previous contact information by the SJPD and Gang Task Force photo lineup profiles. On September 2, 2011 a photo lineup was provided to the victim, who identified one suspect as 20-year-old Miguel Granados as the person who stuck him with brass knuckles during the attack. A juvenile suspect, Leonel Cuevas Valverde, was also identified as a known Norteno gang member involved in the attack. There were also other juvenile suspects under the age of 15 identified by investigators. Through a photo line-up, the victim was able to identify Jose Cortez as one of the suspects seen driving away in his vehicle during the attack. Once the two suspects had successful taken the victim’s vehicle, the attackers began to run away.
However, Damian Magana Hernandez was held by the victim near the area of Bendorf and Danze as he tried to run. He was detained by neighbors and family members who came to the scene to help. Hernandez tried to use a knife to escape, but the family members and neighbors helped to disarm him. He was knocked to the ground and held there until police arrived.
Cortez’s next court hearing has been scheduled for 9-10-2014 at 9:00 AM in Dept 30.