A hearing has been set for February 26th for accused murderer Vicente Jasso in Madera County Superior Court.  Jasso, 23, has been charged with the murder of 19-year-old Firebaugh resident Melanie Camacho last November.

According to Madera County District Attorney Sally Moreno, Jasso remains in custody and the upcoming hearing is one of the first steps towards obtaining a conviction for first degree murder.

The incident, which shook the entire Firebaugh community, began last November 25th when Camacho did not come home from her job in Madera and also did not report for work the morning after, which led her mother to call authorities.  Later a car, believed to belong to Camacho, was found on fire in a rural part of Madera County.  The young lady’s body was then discovered in an orchard.

Madera County Sheriff’s detectives were able to track down Jasso, Camacho’s ex-boyfriend, who then led them on a car chase on Highway 99 all the way to Turlock before he was able to reverse course and head back down the highway.  His car was disabled in the city of Atwater and Jasso abandoned the vehicle and started running.  He was taken into custody following a foot pursuit without further incident.

Reports stated that Camacho had broken off her relationship with Jasso and she told friends that she was going to meet him on that Friday evening to pick up some of her belongings.

District Attorney Moreno said that the upcoming hearing is just one step in a legal process that will take time, but she feels that it will ultimately lead to Jasso spending the rest of his life in prison.

“These cases are always complex,” Moreno explained. “There will be conversations about (Jasso’s) mental state and other issues. We don’t want it to be fast, we want it to be right.”

But she added that there will be no plea bargain.

Madera County District Attorney Sally Moreno

“This is a horrifying crime,” she added. “We will prosecute this to the fullest extent of the law.  We want justice for Melanie and her family.”

When he was taken into custody last November, Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue said that Jasso has a lengthy criminal record which includes assault, witness intimidation, and domestic violence.

Moreno also said that another individual involved in this case, 20-year-old Jose Hernandez of Madera, remains in custody after being previously released.  He has been charged with accessory after the fact and mutilating a corpse.  If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison.  Moreno added that Hernandez has a minimal if no criminal record.

David Borboa