2016 Staffing
Support Staff26
Student Workers6
Victim Advocate1

The Superior Court and Central Pretrial/Case Disposition Division is responsible for prosecuting some of the most challenging cases in the District Attorney’s Office, including assaults, burglaries, robberies, felony DUIs, and murders.

It is one of the largest divisions in the office and its Deputy District Attorneys handle all felonies not assigned to a branch or vertical prosecution. This division is responsible for more than 25 percent of all felony cases tried by the District Attorney’s Office.

In addition, the Superior Court Division handles pre and post-conviction mental health cases for those defendants alleged to be incompetent to stand trial and those found to be a danger to the community as a result of mental illness.

Training and developing Deputy District Attorneys is an important aspect of the Superior Court Division. Monthly training sessions are presented on various aspects of criminal prosecution. Riding along with law enforcement officers is encouraged as well.

The unique combination of senior trial attorneys and junior deputies in the division helps junior deputies develop the skills and knowledge necessary to become highly skilled felony trial attorneys.

The division consists of seven teams: pretrial, case disposition, trials, major violators, DUI homicide, Crimes against Police Officers (CAPO) and cold case homicide.


These prosecutors handle a large number of serious cases. They arraign defendants charged in felony complaints, then prepare and conduct preliminary examinations in front of a judge to prove the charges based upon a probable cause standard. In doing so, the preliminary hearing Deputy DAs are liaisons between the DA’s Office, law enforcement and the victims and witnesses of crime.

The pretrial deputies also handle suppression motions, bail reviews, and miscellaneous court calendars. Occasionally, they conduct misdemeanor trials, which occur when felony charges are reduced to misdemeanors at the preliminary hearing.

Superior-CourtCase Disposition

This team works to assess felony cases in an attempt to reach fair and equitable case resolutions at the earliest possible opportunity. The team encourages immediate sentencing of defendants, where appropriate, which significantly reduces costs to San Diego County taxpayers.


The team is responsible for prosecuting cases that are bound over by the pretrial team and also serious trials that are assigned vertically from the time the case was presented by law enforcement. Those cases involve murder, attempted murder, arson and other complex felony cases.

Cases of note include:

People v. Leopoldo Pacuan
This defendant was convicted of first-degree murder for the brutal murder of his co-worker in Mira Mesa. The victim, a 63-year-old mother, grandmother and wife, was stabbed and bludgeoned to death at their workplace over the defendant’s greed for money. The defendant was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund prosecuted this case.

People v. Jason Lewis
Defendant Jason Lewis was convicted of first-degree murder for strangling and beating to death a young woman in his hotel room. The victim went missing at the downtown YMCA hotel after calling her mom asking for help. Her body was found in a suitcase that defendant recently purchased. Also, the defendant’s room had the victim’s blood on a mattress pad. The defendant was sentenced to life in prison. Deputy District Attorney Melissa Vasel prosecuted this case.

Major Violators

The unit prosecutes criminals with extensive felony backgrounds such as serial robbers and other defendants charged with numerous serious felonies that face extraordinarily long prison sentences. In 2016, the prosecutors assigned to the unit closed 47 cases involving 65 defendants whose combined crimes included over 100 robberies, dozens of residential burglaries, and multiple carjacking and kidnapping cases. The major violators team consistently obtains lengthy prison sentences on the defendants it prosecutes, including seven life terms and prison terms ranging up to 41 years.

Cases of note include:

People v. Kha Sok and David Tonn
Defendant Kah Sok committed a series of armed robberies and kidnapped a victim at gunpoint, forcing her to drive him to banks and a liquor store. Sok targeted Asian women because he believed they carried money and were easy to rob. For his fifth victim in the series of robberies, Sok enlisted co-defendant, David Tonn. Together they kidnapped a victim at CVS drugstore and tied her up. The defendants depleted her bank accounts via ATM withdrawals. After in limine motions, both defendants pleaded guilty to all charges. Tonn was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole and Sok was sentenced to two consecutive life terms. Deputy District Attorney Lucy Yturralde prosecuted this case.

People v. Charles Myers, Willie Myers and Korey Myers
Three brothers committed a series of armed pedestrian robberies over the course of one week, where they pointed a loaded gun at the victims’ heads and demanded their property. Two of the brothers also committed two residential burglaries together about the same time frame. They were first linked to the crimes when a victim tracked his stolen phone to the brothers’ residence. Then search warrants, DNA, fingerprints, surveillance video, and cell phone tracking confirmed it was them. Charles Myers was convicted by a jury of six counts of vicariously armed robbery and two counts of hot prowl residential burglary. He was sentenced to 13 years in state prison. Korey Myers pleaded guilty to seven counts of vicariously or personally armed robbery, two counts of hot prowl residential burglary and felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to 15 years in state prison. Willie Myers pleaded guilty to seven counts of vicariously or personally armed robbery and felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to 16 years and eight months in state prison. Deputy District Attorney Jalyn Wang prosecuted this case.

People v. Roy Lacy
Third striker, Roy Lacy, who was recently paroled from federal prison for bank robbery committed a spree of 13 bank robberies all over California and two bank robberies in Florida. When he robbed the Wells Fargo bank in Oceanside, a witness got the license plate number of his getaway rental car and then photo lineups and cell phone tracking activity linked the defendant to the crime and solved the series. Lacy took his San Diego County case to trial, and was convicted of two counts of robbery. He was sentenced to 71 years-to-life in prison. This was consecutive to the nine-year sentence he received in Florida and consecutive to the 105-year sentence on his Marin County California case. Deputy District Attorney Jalyn Wang prosecuted this case.

People v. Richard Fox and Deanna Rodriguez
In the summer of 2014, defendants Fox and Rodriguez went on a crime spree in San Diego County, burglarizing four homes between July and September. In addition, one Saturday night in July 2014, they drove to Little Italy, confronted three young women at gunpoint, and demanded their property. Rodriguez shot two of the victims before fleeing with nothing. One victim nearly died due to her wound. Detectives from the San Diego Police Department and San Diego County Sheriff’s Department worked tirelessly over several months to identify the perpetrators of these crimes. Due to the strength of their excellent investigation, the defendants pleaded guilty to all charges in the crime spree. Fox received 13 years in prison and Rodriguez was sentenced to 32 years-to-life in prison. Deputy District Attorney Jim Koerber prosecuted this case.

DUI Homicide Unit

The DUI Homicide unit began in October of 2014 with a grant from the Office of Traffic Safety. This unit handles all of the homicides that occur in the county where someone is driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This unit also prosecutes some of the most serious injury DUI cases. The goal of the unit is to be actively involved at the investigations stage of the case in order to better prosecute the offenders. This requires the Deputy District Attorneys and the Investigator to be available to law enforcement at all times and to respond to the scene of the collisions.

Noteworthy cases include:

People v. Mario Carranza
The defendant in this case was charged with second-degree murder when he killed his two passengers while driving impaired. Carranza went to a party with two friends where he drank excessively and used cocaine. He passed out in the bathtub and woke up four hours later, thinking he was fine to drive home. He was not OK to drive. He lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a drainage ditch off of Interstate 8. His blood-alcohol level was between .28 and .34 percent. The defendant had a prior DUI from 2007. Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright prosecuted the defendant, who was found guilty at trial for both murders. He was sentenced to 30 year to life in prison.

People v. Joshua Taylor
Deputy District Attorney Steven Schott prosecuted Joshua Taylor for second-degree murder in a DUI fatal crash. The defendant ran a red light while a pedestrian was crossing the street on her way to hike in Cowles Mountain. Taylor was driving about 60 miles per hour when he hit the victim. He tossed a vodka bottle out of his truck after he stopped. Taylor has two prior DUIs and had a blood alcohol of .21 percent at the time of the crash. He pleaded guilty to the murder charge after the preliminary hearing and was sentenced to 15 years-to-life.

People v. Brandy Teague
This defendant was convicted of vehicular manslaughter while impaired and child endangerment for driving around high on methadone with her young children in the car. When she crashed her vehicle into a telephone pole, her 3-year-old daughter was killed. Deputy District Attorney Aimee McLeod prosecuted this case and defendant was sent to prison for 13 years and four months.

Crimes Against Police Officers

The Crimes Against Police Officers Unit became a part of the Superior Court Division in 2016. This unit prosecutes felony cases in which defendants commit crimes against police officers. The unit also helps handle the special issues that arise in these types of cases. Members of this unit respond to the scene of the most serious cases as they happen. Crimes include violent resistance to officers, officers who are assaulted with firearms and other weapons, and other crimes against officers who are trying to perform their daily duties. The cases are handled vertically in order to help protect and serve those officers that put themselves in the line of fire every day.

Notable cases include:

People v. Allan David Riley
Defendant Allan Riley, a third striker, had a warrant for his arrest when he was contacted by sheriff’s deputies at a car wash. When the deputies realized Riley gave them a fake name, he pulled a knife and slashed one of the officers in the leg. The injured deputy’s partner shot the defendant one time in the stomach, preventing him from continuing his attack on the deputies. At the trial, Riley was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and various other crimes. He was sentenced to 37 years-to-life in prison.

People v. Ignacio Canela
In October 2013, Ignacio Canela, who had a warrant for his arrest, led officers on a high-speed chase on the freeway and streets of the mid-city area of San Diego. He eventually fled from the vehicle into a canyon and ran into a drainage tunnel. San Diego Police Department Officer Tim Bell chased the defendant, into the tunnel and ordered him to stop. A physical struggle ensued which resulted in the defendant shooting Officer Bell four times. A jury convicted Canela of premeditated attempted murder of a peace officer and various other crimes. He was sentenced to 54 years-to-life in prison.

Cold Case Homicide

The Cold Case Homicide Division exists to promote public safety by resolving unsolved homicides in San Diego County. This unit works closely with local law enforcement agencies to systematically inventory all unsolved homicides and missing persons cases that are on file in different agencies.

Significant cases include:

People v. Rivas
In July 1993, Michael Rebana was bludgeoned to death with a hammer at the residence of defendant, Rivas. Days later, Rivas drove the victim’s body, wrapped in plastic and stuffed in a plastic trash can, to a dumpster and lit the dumpster on fire.

In 2016, Deputy District Attorney Jill A. DiCarlo, prosecuted Rivas, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to 31 years-to-life in prison.