Monday, August 6, 2012

Prosecutor: Mexico will try man in officer's death - SFGate

Prosecutor: Mexico will try man in officer's death - SFGate

KEIZER, Ore. (AP) — An injured suspect who limped away from his Oregon home and two murder charges stemming from a car crash that killed his cousin and a sheriff's deputy probably will never face justice in Oregon, the prosecutor said Monday.

Investigators said they believe Alfredo De Jesus-Ascencio fled to Mexico as prosecutors sought an indictment five years ago, and the U.S. extradition treaty with Mexico doesn't apply in this case. Instead, prosecutors said, Mexican authorities have agreed to try De Jesus-Ascencio under Mexican law and issued a warrant for his arrest last year.

Meanwhile, the family of Marion County sheriff's deputy Kelly Fredinburg on Monday announced a reward of up to $20,000 for anyone who can help police find De Jesus-Ascencio and bring him to face a judge, a jury and a fallen deputy's angry family.

"I can't relax until he's caught. I'm going to do everything in my power, and this is one thing I can do, that is legal, to make that happen," Kevin Fredinburg, the deputy's brother, told reporters on Monday.
Authorities believe De Jesus-Ascencio is hiding in the Mexican state of Michoacan, perhaps in the city of Puacaro. Officials declined to say why investigators believe he's there.

Police said in 2007 that Fredinburg was rushing to an emergency call when a Ford Crown Victoria driven by De Jesus-Ascencio crossed the center line between Salem and Woodburn, slamming into Fredinburg's patrol car. The deputy had his lights and siren active at the time of the crash on Highway 99E between Salem and Woodburn, police said, and he died at the scene. He was 33 and had spent about a decade in law enforcement.

Oscar Ascencio Amaya, the defendant's 19-year-old cousin who was a passenger in his car, also died.
Investigators said they don't believe alcohol was a factor in the crash, and it took them several weeks to piece together what happened. By the time a grand jury indicted him on two counts of criminally negligent homicide in August 2007, De Jesus-Ascencio had fled to Mexico.

Oregon prosecutors and the deputy's family hoped to capture and extradite De Jesus-Ascencio to face trial in Salem, but it became clear in 2009 that the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico doesn't apply in this case, said Donald Abar, a deputy district attorney in Marion County.
De Jesus-Ascencio would have to return to the United States and turn himself in or be captured by police to face trial in Oregon, Abar said.

Investigators enlisted the help of a foreign prosecution team from the California Department of Justice, which has extensive experience working with Mexican authorities, and federal prosecutors in Mexico City agreed to take the case last year. If authorities can find and arrest De Jesus-Ascencio, who is a Mexican citizen, he'll face charges under a Mexican law that permits charges against Mexicans who commit crimes abroad.

If convicted, the defendant would be sentenced under Mexican law and serve his sentence there.
Until then, Kevin Fredinburg will wait and hope for results from the Oregon Officers Reward Fund he created to help police catch fugitives wanted for killing police officers. He hopes De Jesus-Ascencio will be turned in by his family, he said.

"I know justice will prevail," Fredinburg said.

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