Ventura County, District Attorney Erik Nasarenko announced that Oscar Garcia, age 18, of Oxnard, admitted the April 22, 2018 second-degree murder of Jose Lopez that occurred in the city of Oxnard. Garcia also admitted the allegations that he used a gun, and for the benefit of a criminal street gang. Garcia also admitted the May 20, 2018 second-degree murder of Adrian Ornelas that also occurred in the city of Oxnard. Garcia was 15 years old when he committed both crimes and was prosecuted as a juvenile.
On April 22, 2018, Jose Lopez, of Oxnard, was shot multiple times in the Hollywood Beach neighborhood of Oxnard. Garcia and an adult, Jorge Ortega, were later arrested and charged with murder. Ortega is currently in custody at the Ventura County Jail and awaiting trial for his role in the killing of Jose Lopez.
On May 20, 2018, Adrian Ornelas, of Oxnard, was stabbed multiple times in the area of Bard Road and Anchorage Street in Oxnard. Garcia, who had not yet been arrested for the killing of Lopez, and another juvenile were arrested and charged for the killing. The other juvenile admitted to voluntary manslaughter in 2019 in juvenile court.
Garcia’s case was the subject of a 2021 California Supreme Court ruling that prohibited the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office from transferring Garcia to adult court where he would receive a longer sentence if found guilty. Senate Bill 1391 was passed in 2018, and prohibits the prosecution of minors as adults for the crime of murder if the crime was committed when the minor was under age 16. In the case of O.G. v. Ventura County Superior Court (S2559011), The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, along with other district attorney’s offices across California, challenged the constitutionality of Senate Bill 1391. On February 25, 2021, the California Supreme Court ruled that Senate Bill 1391 was constitutional. Garcia remains detained and will be sentenced on July 13, 2021, at 1:30 p.m. in courtroom J4 of the Juvenile Justice Center. If Garcia had been prosecuted as an adult, he faced a maximum term of 55 years to life in prison for both murders. However, because he was prosecuted as a juvenile, he can only remain in custody until he is 25 years old.