A May 28 preliminary hearing date has been set in the case of a 20-year-old man accused of shooting a tow truck driver to death.
Merced police believe Anthony Avilez Trammell was the person who killed 41-year-old Randall Armendariz Sr. in a Nov. 24 shooting on Ruby Court. During a preliminary hearing, a judge typically determines whether enough evidence exists to try a suspect on the charges against him.
Trammell appeared briefly in court last week, dressed in a green and white striped jailhouse uniform, the dress code for Norteno gang members in the Merced County Jail. Trammell has been in custody since Nov. 26.
Police believe Armendariz was killed after he confronted Trammell about allegedly stealing a vehicle from Performance Towing, the company the victim worked for. The day Armendariz was killed, one of the company's service vehicles, a white 1989 GMC 1500 pickup, was reported stolen.
Armendariz spotted the stolen vehicle and confronted the alleged thief, police said. Witnesses reported what appeared to be an argument between the victim and another man on Ruby Court, near Carmel Road, before shots rang out.
Officers found Armendariz lying in the road. He'd been shot at least once in the head and was pronounced dead at the scene. The stolen pickup was also found by police at the scene, the driver's side door open and the engine running.
Trammell is being held on suspicion of numerous crimes, including murder, possession of a firearm by a felon and receiving stolen property.
He is being held in lieu of $2.8 million bail.
Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.