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YEAR IN REVIEW: Gang killing, Hillis crash mark tragedies
The memorial to Miguel Muniz has stood near the corner of Third and Sioc streets months after the 14-year-old Colusa teen was shot and killed on Aug. 23.
It was the only murder in Colusa County in 2012, but just one of several senseless deaths local residents were left to deal with.
Two other Colusa teens — Armando G. Leon, 16, and Pedro H. Herrera, 18 — have been arrested and charged with the murder, as gang violence hit the county with a deadly dose of reality.
Police said that while Muniz had no criminal record, the investigation showed that he had become involved with the Nortenos street gang.
Leon and Herrera are reportedly members of the rival Surenos gang.
The matter is now traveling through the court system. Each is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 14.
Also in court is the ongoing case of Paul Moore, who is accused of constructing a bomb that killed Roberto Ayala on July 16, 2011.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 7.
Two benches were erected at Grand Island Elementary School in Ayala's memory, and a dedication ceremony held on Sept. 14. He was 43.
Six people died on the county highways and roadways this past year, none with more public emotion than the death of Jordan Hillis in a single-vehicle accident in the early evening of Sept. 21.
The popular Colusa High senior was the driver of a sports utility vehicle when he lost control and rolled it across Lonestar Road into an irrigation ditch. He was 17.
Hillis and a passenger, who was hospitalized for several days, were on their way to a football game between their RedHawks and Pierce High in Arbuckle.
The community responded in force with a number of fundraisers to help the family.
Two other locals were killed in accidents shortly after that.
Travis Green, 19, and Jaime Paez Gomez, 36, died when Green's truck, southbound on Hillgate Road near Whiskey Creek Road, smashed into a nut bankout wagon driven by Gomez on the morning of Oct. 2.
The California Highway Patrol said Gomez pulled out from a farm road into the path of Green.
The other three deaths involved people from out of the area, the most recent occurring last Saturday on Highway 20 east of Interstate 5.