On July 23, nearly four months ago, 25-year old trespasser Brandon Pacheco was shot – allegedly in the back of the head – and killed by Turlock homeowner Robin Boyer, 58.
But charges have yet to be filed in the controversial shooting, which sparked local debate about property rights and defense of property.
Stanislaus County Assistant District Attorney Carol Shipley says the DA’s office is waiting for a complete report from Turlock police before taking further action on the case.
“This is just something that happens when there is a defense of property case. We just don’t want to rush and make a mistake in a case like this,” she said. “Each case is different, there are no hard-and-fast rules.”
Turlock police were called to a home in the 1100 block of Dianne Drive at 7:56 a.m. that fateful day, and found Pacheco deceased in a field that is believed to be two parcels from Boyer’s property. The finding indicates that Boyer potentially chased Pacheco off his property, then shot him with a shotgun.
Boyer told police he found Pacheco trespassing on his property, and that he shot Pacheco after seeing him trespass and allegedly steal items several times in the past. It is believed Boyer confronted Pacheco on the morning of the shooting, eventually leading to the shooting.
Boyer was not arrested and Turlock police say he has been cooperative in their ongoing investigation.
TurlockCityNews.com contacted Boyer, however he declined comment and quickly hung-up the phone. A subsequent message was left for Boyer to provide him an opportunity to publicly comment, but the call was never returned.
Pacheco’s family, which includes his parents, four brothers and three sisters, as well as a large extended family, say he was wrongly killed. They are demanding justice for his death.
Turlock Police Department Detective Brandon Bertram, who is handling the investigation, says TPD is waiting on further evidence and reports from the Department of Justice. Bertram would not comment as to what kind of evidence they are waiting for, because the information would possibly allow Boyer to make adjustments to his defense strategy.
Brandon Pacheco's older sister, Shannon Pacheco, said the family is becoming frustrated with the lengthy investigation.
“So I guess we are waiting on the Department of Justice. They are really behind! I’m going to do everything I can to make them get this going. We want answers, we want justice and I won’t give up until my brother’s killer is behind bars,” she said.
“He (Boyer) can go to jail, his family will still hug him, they will see his face, his smile, get to hug him. Boyer took that from my family. I wont get to take my brother to the doctor or out to lunch, I wont even get to see him on Christmas or his birthday. He didn’t just take our brother – he ruined our lives because of his anger.”
Shannon Pacheco identified her brother’s body and says she saw the bullet entries in the back of his head. And though her brother had some past issues with the law, she says he did not deserve to be shot.
“I know my brother better than anyone, the cops called me a couple times when he would drive without tags, they always let him go because he was so respectful,” Shannon Pacheco said. “I spent $3,000 bailing him out of jail the very first time he got arrested, and I went to every court date. I will never ever condone the things he did, I absolutely have nothing to hide, but my brother had a big heart and he was the smartest kid I knew. He could fix cars, remodel houses, rebuild dirt bikes and build anything you asked him. He was even an artist, could draw anything.
“He had a lot of potential to do great, and he was getting there. Boyer took away every chance he had to do better. I believe he probably needed help, he probably needed to spend a little time in jail, but he didn’t deserve to be shot in the back of the head.”
In an interesting development, Reece Haile, currently a private investigator in Southern California and a former Turlock Police Officer, has volunteered his services as a private investigator to help the Pachecos find out more about the shooting and potential civil litigation. Haile is Boyer’s nephew.
In the past few years, Haile evidently had a falling out with Boyer. He described Boyer as a “gun enthusiast,” and said he would often shoot target practice on his property. He also said Boyer was a video technician and he was believed to have several cameras, both external and hidden, on his property or around his house.
Haile speculates that Boyer could be claiming he shot Pacheco on accident, something Haile says would be unlikely given Boyer's past.
“If he is saying he accidentally shot Brandon I doubt it. As far as I’m concerned he didn’t accidentally shoot someone. He has made comments in the past about gunning someone down if anyone ever trespassed on his property,” said Haile.
Haile noted that it is unusual for an investigation to take so long, but he speculated that police could be waiting on ballistic or DNA evidence, should Boyer be claiming he shot Pacheco after a physical struggle in fear for his life.
Shannon Pacheco acknowledged that the shooting is inherently controversial due to her brother's checkered past and his decision to steal from Boyer’s property. Pacheco had previously been arrested for theft, burglary and possession of methamphetamine. She has repeatedly noted, however, that if Brandon Pacheco were taken to court he would not be killed, or shot in the head for stealing.
“We only want the truth to come out that Boyer murdered Brandon. No matter if my brother was stealing junk in the field on Boyer’s property, he was very mellow and never wanted confrontation. He had never been in a fight in his life. He would come to my house when he needed to talk and I lectured him, sometimes I even yelled at him, in all of his 25 years and all the times I yelled at him he never ever disrespected me. My brother was my best friend, he listened to me a lot when I lectured him, but there were times when he was really down and out,” said Shannon Pacheco.