ARREST IN COLD CASE: Stanislaus County sheriff's detectives arrested a Modesto man suspected of shooting a San Jose man several times at point-blank range nine years ago. The victim died in the 400 block of E Street in Empire. Detectives on Thursday arrested Fernando Zuniga Jr., 31, on suspicion of murder, said deputy Royjindar Singh, a sheriff's spokesman. Zuniga was being held Friday at the Stanislaus County Jail without bail. Zuniga is suspected of two attacks in the same area and on the same day on Jason Theodore Richards, 26. According to sheriff's officials, Richards was alone in his parked car shortly after noon May 3, 1999, when a 1970s primer gray and red two-door car pulled up behind him. Gunfire erupted, and bullets pierced the rear of Richards' Lincoln Town Car. Some bullets shattered the rear window, but Richards wasn't hit. He suffered minor cuts from broken glass. Richards drove across the street to another house, where he parked in the driveway, investigators said. A short time later, the car with the gunman drove up and stopped behind Richards' car. After Richards got out of his car, the other man pulled out a handgun and shot him. Richards died instantly, Singh said. Almost a decade later, Detective Marc Nuno received information that helped detectives identify Zuniga as the killer, Singh said.
GUILTY VERDICT IN MOLEST CASE: A Modesto man known as "Shaggy" recently was convicted of molesting a 14-year-old girl he befriended at an A&W restaurant, according to a statement Friday from the Stanislaus County district attorney's office. John Mathew Ray, 41, was found guilty of five felonies at the conclusion of a weeklong trial in Superior Court. The felonies are digital penetration, oral copulation, unlawful sexual intercourse, lewd and lascivious acts, and failing to register as a sex offender. He was convicted of three sex crimes against a 13-year-old victim in 1993, so he faces 27 years to life in prison to 127 years to life in prison, under California's three strikes law, Deputy District Attorney Annette Rees said. Ray won the trust of his victim's mother and brother so he could move into their home, but continued to tell the Modesto Police Department, which keeps track of registered sex offenders, that he was a transient. The girl was particularly vulnerable because she was developmentally delayed, but she eventually told adults what Ray had done and testified against him at his trial. He is scheduled for sentencing June 23.