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VENTURA : Gang Member Pleads Not Guilty to Murder

A 23-year-old gang member charged with shooting to death another gang member over a romantic triangle pleaded not guilty in Ventura County Municipal Court on Thursday.

Prosecutors say Thomas A. Corral burst through the door of his ex-girlfriend’s Ventura home July 21 and shot Roger Rowland, 23. Corral, 23, is charged with one count of murder and also faces a kidnaping charge from an unrelated case, prosecutors said.

Municipal Judge Herbert Curtis III ordered Corral held at the Ventura County Jail without bail. Corral and co-defendant Ruben Viveros were arrested in Las Vegas a week after the shooting.

Viveros, 19, remains in Nevada serving time in jail on local charges, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Gregory G. Phillips. Charged as an accessory to Rowland’s murder, Viveros has waived extradition and is expected to be returned to Ventura County within two weeks, Phillips said.

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“Corral thought Roger may have been dating Melinda,” Phillips said, referring to Melinda Corona, the ex-girlfriend.

Ventura police said they arrested Corral and Viveros while breaking up what they suspect was a plot by friends of Rowland to seek revenge for his death. The cases of the two suspects arrested for allegedly conspiring to kill Corral are being prosecuted by Nevada authorities.

Corral also had been a fugitive since 1991, when he and a group of friends allegedly kidnaped the 3-year-old son of a woman who claimed that one of Corral’s friends raped her.

The other defendants in that case already have been convicted and sentenced.

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