Second man arrested in beating death of Modesto man they thought was a sex offender

Ruben Rosales, 25, of Modesto, was arrested by Modesto Police for homicide.
Ruben Rosales, 25, of Modesto, was arrested by Modesto Police for homicide. Modesto Police Department

The second man suspected of allegedly beating to death a homeless man they mistook for a sex offender in a Modesto park has been arrested, according to Modesto Police.

Twenty-five-year-old Ruben Rosales of Modesto was taken into custody after turning himself in at the Modesto Police Department Friday afternoon. The department’s Violent Crime Detectives had issued a warrant for his arrest for the assault that caused the death of 63-year-old Jace Decker.

On Aug. 10, Decker was found with head injuries in Garrison Park, northwest of Orangeburg Avenue and Carver Road. The transient was known to frequent the park and was allegedly confronted by Matthew Arguello, 21, and Rosales, who incorrectly believed he was a registered sex offender. Modesto police confirmed Decker was not a sex offender.

Police said Decker was “viciously” beaten until he lost consciousness. When police arrived on scene the victim initially declined an ambulance, said Modesto Police spokeswoman Sharon Bear. But a short time later was found unconscious and was taken to an area hospital where he lapsed into a coma.

On Sept. 1, police announced Decker passed away from his injuries.

Shortly after the assault, police arrested Arguello. Last week Rosales was identified by police as the second suspect in the attack. According to police, the two men are criminal street gang members, and the attack was believed to be gang motivated.

In a statement on Facebook, Modesto police said, “Rosales’ photo was shared by many of our followers and local media, which no doubt helped put pressure on him to turn himself in. Thank you to our community for all the support you provide!!”

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Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs midweek and Sundays. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.
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