Man charged with murder 
in street racing death

Source: Los Angeles DAs Office
Date: 2002/10/02

WHITTIER – Arraignment for a 19-year-old man charged with murder in the street racing death of an 18-year-old victim was put off until tomorrow in Whittier Superior Court, the District Attorney’s office announced today.

Charges were filed late yesterday against Jose Guadalupe Morales (dob 1-14-83), who was arrested on Monday and remains in custody on $1 million bail. He is charged in case No. VA 073223 with one count each of murder, vehicular manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon by means likely to produce great bodily injury, with an allegation that a second victim who lived suffered great bodily injury. He also is charged with two counts of leaving the scene of an accident.

The charges stem from the Sept. 23 death of Raymond Lara, who authorities said was driving one of the two cars traveling side-by-side along Norwalk Boulevard near Whittier Boulevard. Authorities said both cars were moving at more than 100 mph in the 35 mph residential zone in Whittier.

Lara was killed when his car crashed head-on into a sports utility vehicle driven by a 37-year-old woman, authorities said. She was hospitalized with head injuries and broken bones. Her husband, who was riding in the vehicle, also was injured, but was not hospitalized.

The driver of the other speeding car fled, authorities said. His car was not involved in the crash. The case was investigated by the California Highway Patrol’s illegal street racing task force in Santa Fe Springs.

Morales, who like Lara was a recent graduate of Pioneer High School in Whittier, gave a Fontana address when arrested by CHP officers on Sunday. Authorities said the fatal crash occurred during a second street race that day between the defendant and the victim, who both were driving Mustangs.

The case was filed as a second-degree murder, meaning that if convicted, Morales faces a possible maximum state prison term of life with the possibility of parole.

Arraignment, which had been scheduled for today, was postponed until tomorrow in Division 1 of Whittier Superior Court. Deputy District Attorney Sean Coen was assigned to prosecute the case.



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