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Man denies guilt in three South County-related slayings Neal Putnam | Sat, Aug 23 2014 12:00 PM

A Chula Vista man charged with three murders got a May 2015 trial date Monday, while a second man pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in one of the slayings.

John Paul Reyna, 31, faces up to 22 years in prison after pleading guilty in the Oct. 13, 2005, death of Daniel “Traps” Rodriguez, 20, who was tricked into going out to East County with acquaintances, only to be shot to death.

Rodriguez was dating Reyna’s sister, and Reyna didn’t like how he was treating his sister, according to testimony in the preliminary hearing in July before El Cajon Superior Court Judge John Thompson. Rodriguez lived in the South Bay.

The alleged gunman, Jose Luis Valdez, 31, of Chula Vista, also appeared before Thompson Monday and pleaded not guilty to killing Rodriguez and two others in Chula Vista and National City in 2002 and 2003.

Rodriguez was riding with Valdez, Reyna, and others on a ruse that they were all going to a casino in East County. The car was stopped on Interstate 8 at Tavern Road in Alpine and Rodriguez got outside after someone suggested Rodriguez spray some graffiti.

Rodriguez went to look in the trunk for spray paint, but Valdez pulled a gun and shot him in the head, according to testimony. Rodriguez was still alive when the Alpine Fire Department found him, but he died in a hospital three days later. A sheriff’s deputy found Valdez’s phone number on a piece of paper in Rodriguez’s pocket.

Deputy District Attorney David Grapilon filed gang allegations Monday that say Valdez committed the killings in association with and to benefit a criminal street gang. A trial date was set for May 19, 2015.

Valdez allegedly shot Joseph Medina, 20, in Chula Vista on Dec. 11, 2002, and Francisco Chaires, 22, in traffic in National City on July 6, 2003.

The case is prosecuted in El Cajon because the last murder was in East County.

Also awaiting sentencing is Rashad Lansing, 34, who also pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in Rodriguez’s death. The three men all remain in jail.

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