Suspect in Clerk's Death Charged With Murder

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A man accused of gunning down a Ventura grocery clerk during a botched robbery attempt was charged Friday with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder in the April 6 shooting.

Richard John Geise, 32, of Ojai, could face the death penalty if convicted, because the fatal shooting of Alejandro Alvarez occurred during a robbery, said Richard Holmes, supervisor of the major crimes unit in the Ventura County district attorney's office.

Alvarez, 35, was killed inside the Central Market on Ventura Avenue. The two co-owners of the store, Balbir and Mohan Singh, also were shot but recovered.

Police allege that Geise and Ventura resident Alfonso Acosta Delgado donned gas masks and demanded money from workers at the neighborhood market just after 1 p.m. Before Alvarez and the Singhs could comply, the duo opened fire, police and witnesses said.

Geise was charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting the Singhs and another count of robbery in the April 5 holdup of a Ventura Dominos Pizza deliveryman. Prosecutors also charged Geise with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, another count of criminal conspiracy and multiple counts of burglary and robbery in the market shooting.

"We are alleging he had a gun and discharged it," said Ron Bamieh, the senior deputy district attorney who will prosecute the case. "We also allege that Mr. Delgado also used a gun."

Delgado, a 25-year-old Ventura resident and a cousin of Geise, was shot and killed by a Ventura special tactics officer early May 13 after a five-hour standoff at his grandparents' Channel Drive house.

Geise, who has an arrest record that dates back nearly a decade, was booked Thursday by police at the Ventura County Jail where he was serving time for an unrelated drug charge.

He is scheduled to be arraigned in Ventura County Superior Court on Monday and remained jailed Friday on $1.4 million bail.

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