Trial set to begin in 1999 Chula Vista murder case

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A man accused of shooting and killing a Chula Vista resident in a botched home robbery more than 15 years ago was set to have his trial begin Monday morning.

35-year-old Joe Mora was charged with the November 1999 killing of Sergio Morales.

It took until 2009 to identify a suspect, when DNA evidence located on a beanie from the crime scene led police to Mora. In a preliminary hearing last year, a former girlfriend of Mora’s, Alicia Ayala, testified that Mora was visibly shaken following a 2012 meeting with Chula Vista detectives in regard to the case.

According to Ayala, Mora came to their home and stated that the incident “was a home-invasion robbery that went wrong. He just kept coming at me.” She notified police roughly nine months later.

Police alleged that on the evening of November 28, 1999, Mora and a female suspect arrived at the victim’s home and tried to talk their way inside. When Morales refused and tried to shut the door, a struggle ensued, and the 54-year-old Morales was beaten and fatally shot during the melee.

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