Defendant to be released in Dulcich murder case


Charges have been dropped against the man accused of killing well-known Delano grape grower Jakov Dulcich.

The decision means Mariano Perez, 25, will be released from jail.

The dismissal Monday morning came after a jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of acquittal in September.

The charges still could be refiled if additional evidence is developed, but Deputy Public Defender Lexi Blythe said during the trial all evidence indicates police simply got the wrong man.

Dulcich, 84, was shot to death in his Range Rover on Browning Road in broad daylight April 11.

After the shooting, the Range Rover crashed into a PT Cruiser. The driver of the PT Cruiser said the man who shot Dulcich pointed a gun at him and fired but missed, according to reports.

That witness originally picked Perez out of a lineup of suspect photos, but maintained the killer didn’t have tattoos.

Perez has several very visible tattoos on his neck. 

During the trial, when called to called to testify, the witness reportedly looked at Perez and said he wasn’t the shooter.

The District Attorney’s office said it would re-try the case. That trial was set for Monday but prosecutors instead dismissed the case.

Earlier this month, Secret Witness put out a $30,000 reward for information on the case. 

If you have information you’re urged to call them at 322-4040. 

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