Authorities with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday announced charges against three suspects in connection with the robbery and murder of a 32-year-old man, along with the robbery of his female companion, earlier this year off Angeles Crest Highway in Pasadena.  

On July 22, just before 4 a.m., Pasadena police officers responded to mile marker 36.28 on Angeles Crest Highway on reports of a shooting.   

Authorities said 32-year-old Jesse Munoz and a female friend, were in the area to watch the sunrise when the three defendants, along with a fourth unidentified suspect, opened fire on Munoz’s car in what detectives called a botched robbery. The female passenger was robbed, but unharmed. Munoz died at the scene.  

Jesse Munoz, 32, shot and killed on July 22, 2023, in Angeles Crest.

The three defendants, identified as 24-year-old Luis Ventura, 18-year-old Marco Antonio Hernandez and 21-year-old Abraham Ernesto Alvarenga Cortez have each been charged with two counts of second-degree robbery and one count of murder, according to a news release from the district attorney’s office. It is also alleged that Cortez “personally used a handgun” during the crime.  

“The heinous actions that led to the robbery and murder of Mr. Jessie Enrique Munoz is an appalling and reprehensible display of disregard for human life,” District Attorney Gascón said. “Our hearts go out to Mr. Munoz’s family and friends who are coping with the pain of this senseless act, including his female companion who also was a victim of robbery at the time of this crime. We will work tirelessly to hold these three individuals accountable for their actions.” 

During a press conference in July about the robbery and murder, Pasadena Police Robbery-Homicide Lt. Keith Gomez said authorities believed the same suspects were involved in the July 24 shooting deaths of 26-year-old Taylor Raven Whittaker of Carson and 36-year-old Jorge Ramos of Willowbrook. Both were found shot to death in Ramos’ bullet-riddled car while they were parked at Pelican Cove Park in Rancho Palos Verdes.  

Jorge Ramos and Taylor Raven Whittaker
Jorge Ramos, 36, and Taylor Raven Whittaker, 26, were found shot to death on July 24, 2023, in Ranchos Palos Verdes.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is investigating that case. In July, Sheriff Robert Luna said detectives were sharing information on the case with the Pasadena Police Department, but that no arrests had been made.  

As for the three defendants, Ventura pleaded not guilty at a Sept. 1 arraignment and is due back in court on Oct. 6 for a preliminary hearing. Cortez and Hernandez are scheduled for arraignment on Sept. 11.  

Anyone with information about this case is urged to call the Pasadena Police Department at 626-744-4241. Anonymous tips can be made through L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or online at L.A. Crime Stoppers.