Jessie Moten

Suspect still at large on one-year
anniversary of Arellano murder

July 05, 2014
Santa Paula News

The one-year anniversary of the murder of Joseph Arellano, gunned down June 28, 2013 in broad daylight on the front lawn of his grandmother’s vintage North 6th Street home, also marked a year that the suspect has escaped capture.

But that doesn’t mean the Santa Paula Police Department has given up on finding Jesse Moten.

On June 28, 2013, after parking near Arellano’s grandmother’s white picket fenced  Historic District home, Moten allegedly exited the passenger door, concealed himself and then came up to the gate to shoot Joseph - who was with his girlfriend - several times in the back. Witnesses told police Moten got back into the car and the man behind the wheel pulled away from the curb... and Moten disappeared.

Joseph, the 24-year-old father of a young son, was pronounced dead at Ventura County Medical Center.

According to SPPD Commander Ish Cordero, the identification of Moten as Joseph’s killer “Came together very quickly, because we had people come forth who gave us enough information that we were able to put two and two together... then more witnesses came forward and collaborated that this is one of our suspects.” 

The SPPD continues to look for the driver of the vehicle that carried Moten, now 20, to and from the murder scene.

“We are still aggressively pursuing every lead we get,” tips that Cordero said continue to come in, “here and there...  this case has not been put on the shelf, it’s actively worked including with the assistance of other law enforcement agencies.”

There have been some notable developments: Moten’s parents moved from Santa Paula but relocated nearby and it is believed Moten remains in contact with some community members. 

A documented gang member, Moten was on parole at the time of Joseph’s murder. Moten was arrested as a juvenile for an attempted homicide and spent time in the California Youth Authority, a sentence resulting from unspecified charges.

Joseph had a criminal record of minor offenses, including some as a juvenile, but none that Cordero believed resulted in jail time.

Joseph had been associated with gang activity, but, “From what I understood he was trying to disassociate himself totally from the gang life,” perhaps due to fatherhood, family pressure or maturity.

“And Joseph was doing that,” said Cordero, “but for whatever reason this happened... “

It is significant that Joseph was not the victim of a drive-by shooting: “From what we learned and from what our experience is if these gang members go up to someone,” for the attack and are later caught, “They have more respect in prison... that is how we understand it. 

“In the gang world,” said Cordero, “you get more respect by killing somebody other than by a drive-by.  

“You get status within your gang, not that it’s something to be proud of doing - a cowardly act like that,” such as the unexpected attack on Joseph, whose back was turned to the shooter.

The $5,000 reward for Moten’s arrest and conviction still stands: “I would like to increase that amount,” said Police Chief Steve McLean. “Five-thousand dollars is a lot of money, but perhaps if we offered more we could get the tip that leads to Moten’s whereabouts.  He’s dangerous and should not be on the streets anywhere... “

Moten is Hispanic, 5’ 8” tall, 150 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He has extensive tattoos including at least one small tattoo next to his eye, tattoos on his lower neck and a large skull surrounded by other decorations on his chest. He was last reported to have a shaved head that is also tattooed, although police believe his hair now could be longer to alter his appearance.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Santa Paula Police Department, 525-4474.

If the caller would prefer to remain anonymous, they can call the SPPD recorded Tip Hotline, 933-5691.

In addition, tips can be emailed to the SPPD at

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. 

Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

Ventura County Crime Stoppers can also be contacted by texting “Busted” plus your message to CRIMES (274637). 

Crime Stopper Tips can also be sent via the website,   

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Tel: 805 525-6048


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