Friends of an Imperial Beach father shot to death in his own apartment crowded into a San Diego courtroom Friday as his suspected killer appeared for the first time in court.
The suspect, 24-year-old Vegas Bray, was arrested Tuesday in connection to the shooting death of her ex-boyfriend, Victor Saucedo.
Bray appeared emotionless but confident in court as she pleaded not guilty in front of over a dozen of Saucedo’s friends and supporters. Many of those friends described Bray as a volatile ex-girlfriend who allegedly stalked Saucedo for months before his death.
Deputy District Attorney Harrison Kennedy accused Bray of committing the “ultimate act of obsession” when she allegedly entered Saucedo’s apartment and shot him nine times with hollow point bullets.
Kennedy said that Bray used a .38 revolver, and had to reload the gun to continue shooting Saucedo.
Bray was taken into the Sheriff’s Department for questioning immediately after the shooting on Tuesday, but was arrested shortly after.
Saucedo, 28, was recently out of the military and was working and going to school to support his 7-year-old son, who spoke during an emotional candlelight vigil Wednesday.
His friends told NBC 7 that he had struggled with Bray since they broke up about a year ago. At one point, Saucedo even moved to a different apartment to try to avoid her.
“She wouldn’t leave him alone. They broke up. She couldn’t get over it,” said the victim's former fiancée Zulema Reyes in a previous article.
During the readiness hearing Friday, Kennedy agreed that Bray was trying to rekindle her relationship with Saucedo.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, Saucedo reported vandalism to them multiple times. The calls were investigated, but no one was arrested and authorities did not identify a suspect.
Reyes recalled damage from eggs, paint, vinegar and jelly jars thrown at Saucedo's home. She blamed Bray for those incidents.
Saucedo’s best friend Jeremiah Messenger told friends that Saucedo didn't think officials took him seriously because he was a man complaining about a woman. Because there was no physical harm to him and no one else had witnessed it, there was nothing they could do, Messenger added.
According to several of Saucedo’s friends, Bray, pictured right, was employed at “Little Darlings” adult cabaret in Lemon Grove and was a former sailor in the Navy.
Court records show she had a traffic violation in 2008 and an arrest for grand theft in 2007 in which she pleaded no contest to petty theft. As a result, she paid a fine and attended shoplifting rehabilitation program.
In response to the allegations against Bray, her mother told NBC 7 that she was likely trying to defend herself, and that she would have never commit such an act unless the circumstances were dire.