A man suspected of killing a woman and dumping her body in Newport Beach pleaded not guilty Friday in Orange County Superior Court.
Irvin Tellez, 25, of Garden Grove has been charged with one felony count of murder for allegedly shooting and killing 28-year-old Nancy Hammour of Santa Ana and then leaving her remains under the Newport Bay Bridge on Labor Day. He also faces a felony count of attempted murder for allegedly shooting another woman in the face the same night.
Jamie Prieto Rocha, 40, of Santa Ana, who was also charged in the case, appeared in court Friday but did not enter a plea, according to the Orange County Superior Court website.
Rocha, who went by "Slimmer," and Tellez, known as "Lil Speedy" and "Speedy," were part of the same Santa Ana gang, police say.
The district attorney's office said Rocha, Tellez and Hammour were driving into a Santa Ana neighborhood shortly after midnight on Labor Day when they saw a woman identified by authorities as 31-year-old Elizabeth G., standing on the curb waiting for a friend to pick her up.
Rocha and Tellez started a conversation with the woman and then shot her in the face with a 9mm handgun, according to a statement from the district attorney's office.
Elizabeth G. was transported to the hospital and survived the gunshot wound, police said.
Authorities say that as the group left the scene, Tellez turned the firearm on Hammour and shot her in the face. Still alive, she slumped onto the back floorboard, and Tellez shot her in the face a second time, killing her, authorities allege.
Prosecutors say the two men then drove to Newport Beach and dumped Hammour's body near the Newport Bay Bridge off Coast Highway, where passersby found it at 8:45 a.m.
Prosecutors describe Rocha, Tellez and Hammour as friends.
Rocha is being charged with one felony count of murder. If convicted, he faces 25 years to life in state prison, the release said.
Street terrorism charges were dropped against him, but he pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine and assault with a deadly weapon, among other accusations.
Both men are in custody on $1-million bail.
In addition to the two felony counts, Tellez faces sentencing enhancements for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death and the personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury. If convicted, he faces 75 years to life in state prison, the release said.
Tellez had been charged with gang-related crimes as far back as 1995.
He is due back in court for a pretrial hearing Oct. 22. Rocha will be arraigned Oct. 25.
Hammour was identified in September in an indictment against more than 100 members or associates of a prison gang accused of running drugs, ordering beatings and keeping a list of people it wanted killed.
Hammour was allegedly part of a crew that distributed methamphetamine and heroin.
Newport and Santa Ana police have said her killing isn't connected to the indictment.
Family members previously said Hammour was trying to turn her life around at the time of her death so that she could regain custody of her newborn son.