VENTURA : Prosecutors Testify in Murder Case

Two top Ventura County prosecutors were called to the witness stand Tuesday in a hearing to determine whether murder charges should be dropped against a Ventura man.

Attorneys for Christopher Samuel contend that prosecutors reneged on their promise to grant the 32-year-old immunity against prosecution in exchange for testimony against his younger brother.

Joseph Samuel, 25, pleaded guilty in July to second-degree murder in the shotgun slaying of 24-year-old Anthony Pech. Days after the plea, prosecutors charged Christopher Samuel with murder, conspiracy and two related charges.

Investigators said Samuel was with his brother when Pech was shot to death as he slept in his Oxnard home in March.


Defense attorney James Farley said prosecutors are reneging on the immunity deal and asked Superior Court Judge Charles W. Campbell Jr. to drop the charges.

But prosecutors said Samuel was only offered immunity in a limited number of interviews with investigators. Prosecutors Ronald Janes and Peter Kossoris testified that Samuel was only offered assurances that conversations he had with them would be shielded from prosecution.

But prosecutors testified that conversations Christopher Samuel had with police, plus interviews his girlfriend gave to investigators, were not part of that agreement.

Campbell put off ruling on dropping the charges until today. Farley said if he is unsuccessful in getting the case thrown out, he will make a motion to recuse the Ventura County district attorney’s office from prosecuting the case.