Orange County District Attorney Press Release
For Immediate Release, Case # 09ZF0058: October 9, 2013
*Defendant is accused of fleeing the scene in victim’s car and was later arrested for DUI
SANTA ANA – A man faces trial tomorrow for murdering another man by hitting him in the head and face with the handle of an axe before fleeing the scene in the victim’s car. Jorge Santiago Avalos, 27, is charged with one felony count of murder and faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison if convicted. This is a re-trial of the case where a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict in April 2012. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Oct. 10, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On the afternoon of Sept. 12, 2008, Avalos is accused of going to the Santa Ana home of Hilario Urquiza to drink with the victim. While in the home, Avalos is accused of murdering the victim by hitting him 15 times in the head and face with the handle of an axe. He is accused of leaving the victim face-down in a pool of blood, stealing the victim’s Jeep, and fleeing the scene.
Shortly after the murder, at approximately 6:00 p.m., Avalos is accused of driving with a .16 percent blood alcohol level in the victim’s stolen car. Witnesses called 911 to report a possible drunken driver. At the intersection of Jackson Street and Camille Street in Santa Ana, the Jeep ran out of gas and the defendant is accused of attempting to abandon the car and leave on foot.
The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) responded to the scene and observed the defendant near the car. When contacted by police, the defendant displayed objective signs of intoxication and was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. Officers found paperwork in a subsequent search of the Jeep showing that that car was registered to Urquiza.
At approximately 9:00 p.m., Urquiza’s son called SAPD to report that he had returned home to find his father had been murdered. SAPD investigated this case and linked Avalos to the crime.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Susan Price of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney 401 Civic Center Drive West Santa Ana, CA 92701
Susan Kang Schroeder Chief of Staff Office: 714-347-8408 Cell: 714-292-2718
Farrah Emami Spokesperson Office: 714-347-8405 Cell: 714-323-4486