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Police building case against alleged killer

May 08, 2002|By DARREN SIMON

Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — This city's Police Department will seek a murder charge Thursday against a 22-year-old Brawley man for the slaying of a 16-year-old girl Monday in her family's apartment.

The victim, Jovita Becerra, was thought to have been alone in the family's apartment in the 400 block of North First Street when she was killed.

Her mother found her body, ran to a neighbor's apartment and that neighbor made the 911 call to police at 9:03 p.m.


By 4 a.m. Tuesday police had arrested Pedro Gutierrez Archuleta on suspicion of murder. He was booked into the county jail, where he remained this morning with bail set at $1 million.

Brawley Police Chief Henry Graham said investigators will submit evidence on Thursday to the county District Attorney's Office, and the DA must decide whether to file a murder charge.

Graham said this morning of Archuleta, "As far as I am concerned he is the suspect in the case and he is the only one the investigation has focused on at this point."

Graham said evidence and interviews led police to Archuleta, although Graham declined to speak in detail about the information that led to the arrest He said more information about the case could be released should charges be filed.

The stabbing occurred before 9 p.m. Monday. Graham said based on reports the girl had been at home by herself. He said there were no signs of forced entry into the apartment. Graham described Archuleta as an acquaintance of the victim's sister.

On Tuesday police reported Becerra was a 15-year-old girl, but today corrected her age as 16.

Other details in the case, including a motive for the stabbing and information about the weapon used, have not been released.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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