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Witness in Child Death Case Killed in Car Crash

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 56-year-old Oxnard man killed last weekend in a car crash on Pacific Coast Highway was identified Tuesday as the same man who testified last month at a preliminary hearing for the Oxnard parents accused of murdering their 2-year-old daughter.

Vincent Nobile testified Jan. 2 against Rogelio Hernandez, 19, who along with his 18-year-old wife, Gabriela, is charged with murder and felony child abuse for allegedly beating their child, Joselin, to death last year.

Nobile, a stately man who walked with a cane and spoke in a clear strong voice, told Superior Court Judge Steven Z. Perren that he saw Rogelio Hernandez smack his daughter in the face to stop her from crying.

He frequently took walks near the produce store where the family lived. On more than one occasion he told the judge that he watched the father grab Joselin and hit her to be quiet.

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Nobile said he never saw Gabriela Hernandez hit the baby, and after stepping down from the witness stand he asked investigator Susan Creede in the courthouse hallway why Gabriela Hernandez was being charged with murder.

“She was such a nice girl,” Nobile told Creede according to Creede’s testimony the next day.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Dee Corona confirmed Tuesday that the Vincent Nobile who died in a car accident Saturday morning was the same man who testified in her case.

She said Nobile’s testimony was preserved at the preliminary hearing, and his sudden death is not expected to affect the Hernandezes’ upcoming murder trial, set for March 10.

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Nobile was killed when his car crossed into the northbound lane of Pacific Coast Highway, one-half mile south of Las Posas Road about 10:30 a.m. Nobile tried to get the car back into the southbound lane but ran off the road, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Nobile was ejected when the car rolled and he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a deputy coroner. A passenger in the car suffered minor injuries.

Nobile is survived by a daughter, Diana Lane of Reno.


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