Death penalty upheld for Porterville rapist, murderer, district attorney announces

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The California Supreme Court upheld the decision to keep a 54-year-old man’s death penalty in place after two 1997 first-degree murders.

Juan Sanchez was found guilty of killing Ermanda Reyes and Lorena Martinez, mother and daughter, in the early morning of August 4, 2017.

Sanchez entered the Porterville home of Reyes and her 17-year-old daughter, Martinez. Sanchez proceeded to sexually assault the teen, then shot and killed them both.

In an attempt to appeal his death sentence, he argued that Reyes’ surviving son, who identified Sanchez as the murderer, was too young to testify. However, the California Supreme Court upheld Ermanda’s youngest son was legally admissible regardless of his age since he was able to distinguish between the truth and a lie and remembered that he told officers the truth on the morning his mother and sister were murdered.

“There is a reason why Californians support the death penalty, and that reason is Juan Sanchez,” said Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward.

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