Brother wanted in fatal 2011 shooting in Lynden detained at Arizona border

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDAugust 5, 2012 

One of two brothers wanted in the fatal shooting of Jesse Winchester during a drug deal in November 2011 in Lynden has been taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol in Arizona, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office.

Agents at the DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales, Ariz., contacted the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office on Sunday, Aug. 5, after identifying and arresting Oscar Rodriguez on his outstanding warrant. Rodriguez was in custody at the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday.

Rodriguez, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, likely will face charges of second-degree murder and first-degree assault. In December 2011, Prosecutor Dave McEachran said he would request Rodriguez be tried as an adult in Whatcom County Superior Court, though a judge would have to decide to move the case out of the juvenile system.

The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office will likely begin the extradition process soon to bring Rodriguez back to Washington state.

According to court documents, on Nov. 11, 2011, three men — Andrew Medina and brothers Salvador and Oscar Rodriguez — were driven by Ashley Fischer to the Lynden home to make a drug deal.

Jeremiah Winchester, then 41, was at the home with several others and had set up the drug deal to rob the brothers, but things went wrong quickly and Winchester was shot in the face. His son, Jesse Winchester, 22, was shot and killed by one of the brothers.

One of the brothers likely shot both Winchesters, according to investigators.

After the brothers and Medina fled the house, Oscar and Salvador Rodriguez had Fischer drive them to the Mexican border. Both brothers were believed to be hiding in Mexico; Salvador Rodriguez, then 21, has not been found.

Several other arrests and sentencings have occurred in relation to the November 2011 shooting.

Andrew Medina, then 31, was booked into Whatcom County Jail on January 23 for investigation of second-degree murder, drug possession and rendering criminal assistance. His bail was set at $1 million, and he is currently still in jail.

Gavin Glyzinski, then 37, who was with Jeremiah Winchester in the Lynden home at the time of the shooting, was sentenced on May 10 to six years and eight months in prison for attempted possession of a controlled substance.

Glyzinski pleaded guilty to the two drug charges on the condition that he would provide law enforcement with information in their investigation and testify in the trial of Winchester and Johnny Arellano, who was also in the Lynden home at the time of the shooting.

Jeremiah Winchester was sentenced on May 15 to 20 years in prison for attempted robbery, attempted drug possession, and unlawful possession of a firearm.

During the trial, his attorney, Michael Brodsky, said Winchester didn't have a bail bond recovery license, but on the night of the drug deal, Winchester was attempting to bring in Salvador Rodriguez, whom he suspected was planning to jump bail.

Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran described that claim as a "ruse" used by Winchester in the case. He said Winchester never mentioned the bail recovery claim in interviews just after the incident, nor did he mention it to anyone the night of the shooting.

At the sentencing, Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder told Jeremiah Winchester there was no one else to blame but himself for the tragic outcome of the events that he set in motion.

"You have brought this all on yourself through your own actions, and you are being sentenced for those actions today," Snyder said. McEachran had argued for the exceptional sentence of 20 years in part because of Winchester's extensive criminal history — 16 felony convictions over 18 years, including his convictions for this case.

The jury couldn't come to a decision on Johnny Arellano, who was facing a robbery charge, and a mistrial was declared.

Arellano's attorney, Carl Munson, argued that Arellano had no knowledge that a robbery was being planned.

Fischer was sentenced June 12 to one year and five months in prison for first-degree rendering criminal assistance and drug possession.

After driving the brothers to Mexico, Fischer turned herself in to Whatcom County authorities. She told deputies she had met the brothers about six weeks before the shooting and that they would pay her to drive them to and from drug deals, according to court documents.

No further information about the arrest of Oscar Rodriguez was available Sunday night.

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