A bombshell announcement on Wednesday morning.
Instead of continuing with his half of the trial, Jose Villagomez accepted a plea deal.
“He authorized me to give the offer of second degree murder and 15 to life. The district attorney’s office checked with the family and the family did not want to accept such and offer but was willing to give him 25 to life with the possibility of parole,” Villagomez’s attorney Michael Scott explained.
This offer included the dismissal of felony charges of sexual assault during a robbery. Scott says his client did a lot of research on his own, in hopes of using his youth to his advantage.
“He already has 3 years in almost so after about 22 years he would likely parole. Because he’s so young, there’s a preference to youthful offenders to get parole when they’re first eligible. If you get 25 to life, liifers don’t always get parole first time around – sometimes never,” Scott said.
Once the judge accepted Villagomez’s plea deal, his jury was relieved of their duties.
Shortly there after, Victor Martinez’s trial resumed. Wednesday’s witnesses included three different members of the Santa Maria Police Department – two of whom work in the department’s crime lab.
These technicians helped collect a majority of the evidence involved in this case like finger nail filings, shoe prints and even checking for prints on the more than 1000 coins allegedly taken from Pharis’s home.
Crime lab technician Angela Jorge removed several items from the backpack Victor Martinez was wearing when he was arrested.
During cross examination for both crime lab technicians – the defense brought up the status of Pharis’s house when they arrived, being sure to emphasize there were massive cob webs inside – with a dead lawn full of weeds on the outside.
The man who testified after Jorge was Jose Salto who had purchased the property off Mcelhany to renovate it and re-sell it.
This house is where Victor Martinez and Jose Villagomez were allegedly staying together before salto kicked them out, leading them to head over to Pharis’s house.
Villagomez is expected back in court July 19th.