Ex-BC student Jose Bello identified by co-defendants as triggerman in Tulare homicide: report

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Jose Omar Bello Reyes, the former Bakersfield College student who received national attention after reading a poem criticizing ICE, has been named the gunman in the killing of a man in Tulare County, a court document says.

Bello, 24, is charged with murder in the shooting death of 58-year-old Douglas Cline from Washington whose body was found at a Terra Bella orchard last month. He was arrested Thursday in East Bakersfield.

Two other men, Jesus Manjarrez, 23, and Dan Eli Perez, 38, are also charged with murder.

Manjarrez and Perez told Tulare sheriff’s investigators that Bello killed Cline, according to a probable cause declaration filed in Tulare County Superior Court.

Cline traveled to California to pick up “a large amount of narcotics” from someone known as “Chapo” — later identified as Manjarrez, according to the declaration. Cline owed between $30,000 to $40,000 to Manjarrez, the document says.

Through GPS data, detectives traced the Cline’s cellphone to Manjarrez’s home the afternoon of Oct. 14, then to Earlimart and finally to the home of Perez in Terra Bella, about two miles from the crime scene, according to the declaration.

Neighbors reported hearing four gunshots between 6 p.m. and 6:15 p.m., the declaration says.

The phone then traveled to Delano and the McFarland Tire Shop.

“Video surveillance from the tire shop shows Manjarrez along with two other people arrive in Manjarrez’s vehicle at the same time the victim’s phone arrived there according to his Google timeline, although the victim was never seen there (presumed dead at this point),” the declaration says.

Manjarrez and Perez were arrested Oct. 28 and questioned.

“They both advise another subject who was ultimately identified as Jose Omar Bello Reyes pulled the trigger and killed the victim,” the declaration says.

In 2019, Bello was arrested 36 hours after he read a poem critical of ICE before the Kern County Board of Supervisors.

His case gained national attention as many people believed ICE targeted Bello because of the poem.

Bello also faces multiple felony drug and gun charges stemming from an arrest in September in Kern County, according to court records.

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