By Anna Giles

PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — The three men charged in connection to the death of an El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputy pleaded not guilty after a court appearance Friday afternoon.

Deputy Brian Ishmael was shot and killed Wednesday while responding to a call about a theft at an illegal marijuana garden. It was revealed in court Friday that the man who made this 911 call is now facing a murder charge.

From left: Juan Carlos Vasquez-Orozco, Ramiro Morales, Chris Ross. (credit: El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department)

The three suspects answered to a judge, together, in the same room. Juan Vasquez-Orozco is charged with murder, accused of firing the shots that killed Deputy Ishmael at this property in rural El Dorado County.

But now, he’s not the only one.

The man who lives on the property where Deputy Ishmael responded, Christopher Ross, is charged with murder. El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini said Ross called 911 about the theft at his illegal marijuana garden but failed to mention those stealing were his business associates.

District Attorney Vern Pierson said the murder charge involves a legal theory of implied malice.

“One court has described it as when you set a lethal man trap in a dark alley and send someone into it unknowingly,” Pierson said.

The final suspect in this case, Ramiro Morales, was the only man allowed bail. He’s charged with knowing Juan Vasquez-Orozco committed murder but helping him try and avoid arrest anyway.

READ: 3 Men Accused Of Killing El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Ishmael Plead Not Guilty

Friday’s arraignment comes as people in El Dorado County continue to grieve. They call Deputy Brian Ishmael a hero, who died doing the job he loved and will always be honored for serving his community.

“Our thoughts are with all the impacted deputies as well as the family of deputy Ishmael,” Pierson said.

The suspects, in this case, are expected to appear in court again in December. The District Attorney was asked about the death penalty in this case, he said for now it’s not on the table but that could change.

Additionally, the Department of Justice brought new federal charges upon the three suspects. All three suspects are charged conspiracy to manufacture at least 50 marijuana plants, manufacture at least 50 marijuana plants, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking charge.


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