One teenager could spend the rest of his life behind bars. Jose Saldana is accused of murder. People in Hanford are calling it one of the most heinous crimes this city has ever see.
17-year-old Jose Saldana is accused of murder. Police say he randomly picked Denise McVay as his victim. Investigators say he came up behind her at a car wash, stabbed her multiple times, and slit her throat.
We spoke to Saldana's father about the accusations, he's still in shock and didn't want to be on camera. His 17-year-old son is being tried as an adult for murder. "If he said he did it, I never would have imagined he would do something like that."
He says his son was at home drinking with friends just hours before Denise McVay was killed. The Saldana family says Jose has stolen alcohol in the past, and broke probation when he was caught with a knife. But his father says he never thought those crimes could lead to murder.
The Hanford Police Department says Saldana was heard saying "I just want to kill someone."
"What he did, that lady and how the family is feeling, I feel bad for them, and I feel bad for myself. Because I'm not going to have another son."
Police say after the attack Saldana and 18-year-old Mauricio Ortiz stole McVay's car they say the teens went shopping with her money. Now Ortiz is charged with accessory to murder and could face harsher punishments for being a gang member. Nannette Mendoza is a friend of the family she says he's innocent, "He just happened to be with the wrong friend at the wrong time."
Saldana and Ortiz will both have their time in court. Meanwhile Saldana's father is left with questions. What could have led to the death of Denise McVay? And was his son to blame?
"The decision he took that day, to do it, I don't know if he was under the influence of drugs or something, or what happened. I'm not sure."
Saldana's father wasn't in court Friday, he said it would be just too emotional to see his son in handcuffs.
Their next court appearance is August 2nd. If convicted Saldana could face life in prison. Ortiz faces up to 7 years behind bars.