Hearing set in Ballico homicide case

A man charged with killing a 71-year-old Ballico resident last year is scheduled to appear again next month for a preliminary hearing in Merced County Superior Court.

Rogallano Gonzalez Munoz, 29, has pleaded not guilty to murder and robbery in connection with the Feb. 19, 2013, death of Ramon Jimenez, who was shot and killed at his home in the 19000 block of Lombardy Avenue during a suspected home invasion robbery.

Munoz appeared briefly in court Friday before Judge Ronald W. Hansen, according to Deputy District Attorney Nicole Silveira.

The judge ordered Munoz back to court April 7 for a preliminary hearing to determine if he will stand trial for Jimenez’s death, the court clerk’s office said.

Sheriff’s investigators said Munoz and at least two other men targeted Jimenez for drugs or money, and threatened to kill his wife, whose name has not been released. Instead, the three men killed Jimenez.

Munoz was arrested in December after the Merced County Sheriff’s Department said they found DNA evidence linking Munoz to the homicide in Ballico.

Sheriff’s detectives tied Munoz to the death after his reported involvement in an unrelated rolling car-to-car shootout in July.

Munoz was injured in the incident and investigators collected unspecified DNA evidence at the crash scene they said matched DNA found at the scene of Jimenez’s death.

Munoz remains in custody without bail at the Merced County Jail.