UPDATE (7/12): Ruiz on Monday was found guilty of second-degree murder and faces up to 40 years to life in prison.
A sentencing hearing has been set for Aug. 18. Ruiz faces a sentence of up to 40 years to life in prison.
“The use of extra judicial, self-help eviction during the COVID pandemic is not acceptable, but the use of gun violence as retaliation, resulting in the murder of third party not involved in the dispute will not go unpunished,” said Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) (7/8) — A jury has acquitted one man and will resume deliberations for a second defendant charged with murder in a northwest Bakersfield shooting last year.
Jurors on Wednesday acquitted Douglas Hutchison in the death of 28-year-old Duran Kenneth Dunhill McDowall. They’ll be back in court Monday to continue deliberations regarding Manuel Jesus Ruiz, 33.
According to court documents, Hutchison and Ruiz were upset over changes to their rental agreement and being forced to move out of a house in the 7000 block of Bandolero Way. Prosecutors said the homeowner unlawfully evicted the men.
On May 27, 2020, a day after they moved out, the two men returned and confronted the homeowner outside, the documents said. Witnesses told police Hutchison and Ruiz yelled at the homeowner, who tried to run for the front door but fell.
The homeowner, who is partially paralyzed from a stroke, told police Hutchison stood over him and he believed he was about to kick him.
McDowall came out of the house and swung a skateboard at Hutchison, according to the documents. Hutchison ran to the driver side of the suspect vehicle and a gunshot was heard shortly afterward, the homeowner told police.
Hutchison and Ruiz drove away. Police found McDowall lying in the driveway with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Hutchison and Ruiz were located the next day at a home in the 9000 block of Muller Road. They surrendered after a five-hour standoff with SWAT officers.