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Getaway van the subject of trial

Details surrounding the getaway van that was allegedly used in a fatal drive-by shooting was the subject of the most recent hearing in the David Ramos murder trial.

Madera County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Robert Blehm was called in Tuesday at the Madera County Superior Courthouse to testify on his work investigating the murder of Jorge Navarro, 17, of Madera, which resulted in the arrest of several suspects, including David Solis Ramos, 22, the defendant. At that time, Blehm was serving as a detective.

During his testimony, Blehm went over the surveillance footage captured near the scene of the crime, and close to the time in which the shooting took place.

“My evaluation, based on the surveillance footage and the photographs is that it was the van that was used in the shooting,” Blehm said.

The identification of the van would lead to the arrest of the suspect Isaias Bazante. According to Blehm, his interviews with Bazante led to the arrest of Ramos, along with another suspect, Alejandro Jimenez after they were pulled over by the Special Investigations Unit. In addition, Bazante’s younger sister, Raquel, was also brought in as a witness. Upon being shown photos of the suspected van in the courtroom, she confirmed that the van belonged to her father, and that Bazante was known to drive it at times. She further confirmed that Bazante knew Ramos personally.

“I knew they talked,” Raquel Bazante said. “But I didn’t know they were friends.”

According to court records, Navarro was shot and killed on the evening of Sept. 3, 2013, while he was walking with his fiancé, Julia Morales, and one other person, near Road 27 and Martin Street.

According to reports, a lone van pulled up on the three, and one suspect, allegedly wearing a hat and a bandana, drew his gun, firing a single shot that struck Navarro in the head. The shooting is believed to be gang-related.

Another witness, Brandon Denney, was visiting his grandparents that night, when he saw the van pull up, and Navarro was killed. Brandon testified on Thursday that he was unable to get a clear view of the suspect because he was at a distance, but did see the shooter fire once. After the shooting, Denney claimed to have run back inside to call 911.

According to Linn’s office, there were five other people in the van with Ramos, and they are hopeful that all five will testify in the case.

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