York City homicide suspect's hearing continued

The suspect in the slaying of a Schuylkill County man killed in York City earlier this year had his preliminary hearing continued — during the hearing itself.

On Friday, Sept. 7, two witnesses testified in the case of Brandon Dejesus, who is charged in the homicide of Luis "Pily" Inoa.

But after the witnesses testified and both the prosecution and Dejesus' attorney spoke to the judge, chief deputy prosecutor Chuck Murphy requested a continuance of the hearing because a witness police interviewed was not at the preliminary hearing.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Brandon Dejesus, 28 of York, in relation to the April 15 homicide of 27-year-old Luis Inoa in York City, according to York City Police. (Photo courtesy of YCPD)

Continuance: Murphy said a subpoena was sent to the witness, but she might not have gotten it. He told District Judge Ronald Haskell Jr. that the woman identified Dejesus in the shooting.

Police have said Dejesus shot Inoa with a shotgun while another man, Chayanne "Shorty" Ramirez, shot Inoa with a handgun from across the street. 

During the preliminary hearing, a witness testified he identified Dejesus at the shooting by his voice and not by his appearance. Detective Andy Baez, who filed the charges, also testified that evidence found at the scene was not tested for fingerprints.

Inoa was killed at 12:25 a.m. April 15 in the area of Duke and South streets, police said, and Dejesus turned himself in on the charges last month after four months on the lam.

Dejesus attorney Korey Leslie opposed the continuance of the hearing, but Haskell said given the severity of the charges, he would grant it. 

Haskell said he would like to have the hearing scheduled for within a month, but as of Monday, Sept. 17, a date had not been set.

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Testified: Felix Vega, a family member of Inoa's, testified that Dejesus had come to his front porch in the 100 block of South Street about 11:30 p.m. April 14.

He said Dejesus had come up and asked if there was a problem, but Vega told him there wasn't and asked him to go home. Vega said Dejesus told him he was going to come back, and he left in a gray Toyota.

According to his testimony, Inoa came to the house after that, and Ramirez came to the home shortly after. Ramirez, 28, faces charges of conspiracy to commit homicide in the slaying.

The two went outside, Vega said. He testified that Ramirez hid behind a brick wall across the street while Inoa stood at the corner of a church near Vega's home. Shortly after, a van pulled up and two men in masks dressed in all black came out, he said. 

Vega said one of them had a shotgun, and he recognized the man by his voice as Dejesus. The second person has not been publicly identified.

He said Inoa gave himself up, got on his knees and said "don't shoot me."

At that point Dejesus came to Vega's porch, where Vega, his brother and his brother's girlfriend were, and he fired the shotgun at them, prompting them to run inside, Vega testified. Vega said he recognized Dejesus by his voice, and that Dejesus said, "Why are you running?"

They hid in the house and heard six to seven gunshots before Vega went outside, he said.

"When I come out, I see (Inoa) lying on the ground," he said. 

Leslie asked Vega why Inoa had shown up, and he said his brother's girlfriend had asked him to come for protection after she had gotten in a fight with Dejesus' sister.

He and Baez both testified that the shooting incident had nothing to do with the fight between the women.

Baez testified that a children's bookbag with shotgun shells and a wooden stock part of a shotgun were found at the scene, but none were tested for prints. Police have said the backpack belonged to Dejesus. 

He said that Inoa was shot in the right shoulder with a shotgun and in the torso with a regular round.

Baez said spent shotgun shells were never found. Inoa, he said, was found with a handgun still in his waistband.

Leslie declined to comment after the hearing because the hearing was continued. 

BackgroundCharges for both Dejesus and Ramirez were filed  Aug. 25.

Dejesus wasn't taken into custody until Aug. 14, when he turned himself in to police.

Ramirez was captured Aug. 30 in the Bronx by members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, according to officials. 

York City Police Lt. Gene Fells told The York Dispatch at the time of Ramirez's arrest that he is charged with attempted homicide rather than homicide because police so far cannot prove that his bullets struck Inoa.

Inoa, 27, of Shenandoah, Schuylkill County, was killed by a gunshot wound to the torso, according to the York County Coroner's Office, which ruled his death a homicide.

Ramirez was arraigned Sept. 13, and his preliminary hearing is set for Thursday, Sept. 27.

Dejesus, charged with homicide, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and discharging a firearm into an occupied structure, remains in York County Prison without bail.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.