STOCKTON (CBS13) — The man suspected in a 1979 San Joaquin County shooting that left a local bar owner dead has died in prison before standing trial.
Joseph Rocha was shot and killed back on June 27, 1979 at was once Rocha’s Club in the south area of San Joaquin County. The suspect and accomplice were reportedly asked to leave the bar due to poor behavior. But, a little while later, the pair returned and again tried to buy beer.READ MORE: Entire Staff Quits Noah's Bagels In Vacaville In Protest — And Video Goes Viral
When the pair were refused, the suspect pulled out a gun and shot Rocha dead.
Investigators believed the suspect – Jesus Emilio Baraza Valdez – fled the country after the shooting and changed his name.READ MORE: 5G Rollout Concerns: How Could Technology, Delay Impact Sacramento?
Back in December 2020, detectives learned that Valdez had returned to the US. He was soon arrested at a home in Southern California.
However, on Thursday, the sheriff’s office announced that Valdez had died of natural causes while in custody at the San Joaquin County Jail. He was still awaiting trial for the homicide.MORE NEWS: Community Suggests 'Super Happy Fun Time' Name For New Roseville Park
Valdez’s accomplice had already been arrested, charged and convicted back in 1979. With Valdez being the only outstanding suspect, the sheriff’s office says the case has now been closed with his death.