San Jose police find gun in woman's murder case

December 22, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
This report demonstrates why police and others are so worried about the flood of illegal guns on the streets. Police say the weapon used to kill a San Jose woman in October is the same gun another man pointed at them last week in a completely unrelated case.

It's a murder case San Jose police worked on for two months and now authorities say they can officially charge a man they've suspected of murder all along.

The murder suspect is Marcus Casillas who was picked up Oct. 3rd for an unrelated probation violation. That was one day after his estranged wife, Valerie Casillas, disappeared from her East San Jose home. Investigators believe Marcus shot her to death that same day and then dumped her body in a remote area off Sierra Road in the east foothills of San Jose. The motive was domestic violence. Now police say they have the gun to prove it.

"That was really the last piece of evidence we had that really went to the implication of Marcus Casillas in this homicide," said San Jose Police Sgt. Jason Dwyer.

Investigators recovered that same semi-automatic handgun on Friday. They say Manuel Fuentes had the gun when they stopped him on Inman Way for having an open can of a beer. Fuentes suddenly ran into a nearby home with the gun hidden in his waistband.

"He pitched it into a bedroom. The officer stepped into the doorway and the suspect in that case, Valente Galindo, picked up the gun, pointed it at the officer, and the officer fired one round, eventually killing that suspect," said Dwyer.

Police say all three men, Casillas, Fuentes and Galindo have gang affiliations. They're not sure how the gun went from Casillas to Fuentes, but they're not surprised.

"That gun could have changed hands several times. It could have been a straight hand-to-hand between two people, we just don't know," said Dwyer.

But they say they do know the gun started in the hands of Casillas. He has been in custody since October for his probation violation. ABC7 checked his record and he has a prior arrest for domestic violence. Casillas will be in court for the murder charge on Tuesday.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Stewart Davies or Detective Jaime Jimenez at (408) 277-5283. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-STOP (7867) or visit

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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