In August of 1980, Tulare County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested two suspects in the murder and armed robbery of a Porterville man, after investigating the case for a week.

Taken into custody was Antonio Rosa Jr., then 19-years-old, and a male juvenile, both from Porterville.

Rosa was booked into the Tulare County Jail and charged with the murder and robbery of Ricardo Guerrero, and was also charged with the armed robbery of Manuel Martinez.

Rosa was sentenced to a lengthy term in state prison.

In September of 2018, California passed a “new murder rule” (Senate Bill 1437) which outlines how the felony murder rule can be applied to potential defendants. The bill states under SB 1437, the felony murder rule only applies when a defendant directly kills a person in the commission of a felony or attempted felony, aids and abets the killing, is a major participant in the killing or when the victim was a peace officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties. There are several defenses available for a person who has committed a felony murder in California if the accused can show they didn’t commit a felony, had no intent to kill and/or wasn’t a “major participant” in the felony.

Now, 30 years later with SB 1437 in place, Rosa has filed a petition to the court in hopes of being released, and continues to claim his innocence in the case.

Rosa appeared in the Tulare County Superior Court on June 4 for a hearing about his petition, but the court continued the hearing until Monday.

In Department 6 of the Tulare County Superior Court, Rosa learned the prosecution, also known as “The People”, has filed an opposition to his petition for release.

His hearing was continued to August 12, at 8:30 a.m., in Department 6 of the Tulare County Superior Court in Visalia.

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