Plant your fingers in your ears for a second, Orange County, because the high-pitched screams of anti-illegalites are about to break glass. A 55-year-old Santa Ana resident with multiple DUI convictions and deportations under his belt has been charged with murder for allegedly being drunk while running over a man sitting on a curb.
Ramon Jaime Horta faces felony counts of second-degree murder, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury and hit-and-run causing permanent and serious injury, as well as a misdemeanor charge of driving on a suspended license.
He is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 4.
Marcello Bisarello, 24, was sitting on a curb about 1:10 p.m. Tuesday at 814 E. McFadden Ave., a few doors down from his home, when he was struck by a 1995 Ford Windstar that kept going, according to Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, the Santa Ana Police spokesman.
A good Samaritan, later identified as Cesar Guzman, saw what happened and followed the van, honked and yelled at the driver to pull over, ultimately pinning the van in with his car, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Birney, who further explained why the van driver may have been reluctant to stop: Ramon Jaime Horta has multiple prior convictions for drunken driving.
Or perhaps it was this: Police found four open beer cans in the Windstar, Bertagna said.
Because the defendant was … take a deep breath … convicted of DUI in 1997, has another case dating back to 2000, has an outstanding warrant for yet another DUI, had his drivers license suspended due to DUI, spent nine months in jail after pleading guilty in December 2001 to possession of a controlled substance to sell and driving on a suspended license, got 16 months in jail after pleading guilty to possession of a controlled substance in June 2005 and got two years in prison after pleading guilty in July 2008 to possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell–yes, because of he should have known better after racking up all those convictions, he's been charged with murder rather than vehicular manslaughter.
Birney sought bail of $1 million for Horta, but jail records show the self-described laborer is being held without bail. That's likely because Horta has been deported multiple times, most recently in January 2012, according to Lori Haley of the Department of Homeland Security.
(The Orange County Jail identifies the defendant as Ramon Jaime Horta; other records list him as Ramon Horta-Jaime.)