Photo: Victor Aguilar
Ventura County – On the night of September 14, 2019, 17-year-old Oxnard resident Peter Morales was gunned down on the streets of his hometown and died of a gunshot wound to his chest.
The ensuing investigation into the teen’s slaying developed into a manhunt that took Oxnard Police Department detectives far afield from their local jurisdiction, and on December 18, 2019, they traveled to Oregon where they caught up with 21-year-old Oxnard resident Jose Manuel Dimas.
According to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Captain Eric Hatlee, Dimas was then transported back to Ventura County where he was charged with murder and special circumstances indicating that “the killing was done for the benefit of a criminal street gang.”
But the case was far from closed. When arraigned on murder charges, Dimas “pleaded not guilty,” and as the investigation continued, 25-year-old Oxnard resident Victor Aguilar was identified as an additional suspect. But the cops didn’t need to go far to find Aguilar, as he “has been in jail custody in connection with an unrelated crime” including charges of an attempted murder on September 3, 2019, more than a week prior to the Morales killing.
Aguilar was contacted while in custody at Ventura County Jail on March 10, and arrested and charged with first degree murder with special allegations relating to his involvement in a criminal street gang. He remains in custody on a no-bail hold.
Photo: Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking