Here is a summary of recent incidents and announcements from Ventura County agencies:
Plea re-entered the murder case involving the transfer to Gaviota
VENTURA COUNTY — A man accused of killing his estranged wife outside Oxnard last year and dumping her body in the Gaviota area has pleaded not guilty to one count of murder.
Josefino Cayetano Maldonado, 42, pleaded guilty Friday in Ventura County Superior Court, records show. He also denied a special allegation regarding the use of a deadly weapon. He was represented by the Ventura County Public Defender’s Office and appeared via video conference.
He was previously acquitted about a year ago. Friday’s plea was approved after a new filing by prosecutors, court records show.
The Salinas resident allegedly hit the victim with a rock after he became enraged when she refused to reconcile with him, authorities said.
The incident reportedly occurred in the early morning hours of July 11, 2021, while the couple was on a field trip and had stopped for a bathroom break near 305 E. Hueneme Road, east of the Oxnard city limits, where Pacific Sod is located .
Maldonado’s estranged wife, Eudelia Gonzalez Rojas, 46, of Oxnard, had been reported missing by her family. He had left home around 9 p.m. on July 10 in a car that family members did not identify, according to the Oxnard Police Department.
Investigators later said the two had driven past CSU Islands and Newbury Park before returning to Oxnard. The outing reportedly turned violent after Gonzalez Rojas told Maldonado that she would rather stay with her current boyfriend than reconcile with him.
In the days before the victim’s body was found, Oxnard police sought the public’s help as they searched for the missing woman.
Gonzalez Rojas’ body was found on July 16 of last year along an embankment on the 101 Freeway north of the Gaviota Tunnel in Santa Barbara County.
Oxnard police detectives had served a search warrant at Maldonado’s home in Salinas a day earlier, when he allegedly confessed to the killing and told authorities where he had disposed of the body.
Friday’s hearing was held before Ventura County Superior Court Judge Derek Malan. The next hearing is a pretrial conference set for the afternoon of September 16 in courtroom 12.
Maldonado remains in custody at the Ventura County Jail, where he is not eligible for bail.
Auto insurance fraud could result in jail time, large fines
VENTURA – An Oxnard man could face up to five years in county jail after pleading guilty in a case where he tried to get auto insurance after an accident, authorities said.
Jose Ramos Solis, 38, pleaded guilty Monday to felony auto insurance fraud, according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.
In October 2020, Solis was involved in an accident in Oxnard and was uninsured at the time, prosecutors said. About an hour after the incident, he purchased coverage from Sentry Insurance. He reported the accident two days later as if it happened after he bought the policy.
The other driver had reported the accident to the Oxnard Police Department and his insurance company, Progressive Insurance. An investigation by police, both the insurance companies and the California Department of Insurance uncovered the fraud, prosecutors said.
Solis will be sentenced in Ventura County Superior Court on Sept. 20. Felony auto insurance fraud can carry up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 or twice the amount of the fraud, whichever is greater, according to the DA’s office.
This article originally appeared in the Ventura County Star: Man accused of dumping woman’s body in Gaviota pleads not guilty, more