Two arrested in Medford slaying

Article author: 
Nick Morgan
Article publisher: 
Mail Tribune
Article date: 
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
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Article Body: 

Medford police on Wednesday arrested both the suspected shooter in a downtown Medford homicide and the man they believe egged him on.

Shane Anthony "Scarface" Zornes, 25, of Spokane, who is suspected of fatally shooting 27-year-old Isaac Deleon early Sunday morning on Bartlett Street, was arrested by Medford police detectives and other law enforcement in the small town of Rosalia, Wash., near Spokane.

Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said two Medford detectives, Whitman County sheriff's deputies and Spokane police officers surrounded the home of an associate of Zornes Wednesday.

"He came out with his hands up and complied with officers' orders," Budreau said.

Zornes will be extradicted to Jackson County to face a charge of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, he said.

Medford police also added murder charges against Ruben Escareno Marmolejo, 30, of Spokane, Wash., whom they believe told Zornes to shoot Deleon, a Central Point resident.

Marmolejo was arrested on a Washington warrant listing drug charges about 30 minutes after the shooting in the area of Crater Lake Avenue and Bennett Street in Medford. Marmolejo was questioned about possible involvement in the homicide at the time, but was jailed Sunday on the drug charges, police said, and has been held in the Jackson County Jail since then.

A Jackson County grand jury indicted Zornes and Marmolejo on murder charges late Wednesday afternoon. The indictment charged Zornes with murder and criminal conspiracy to commit murder, and Marmolejo on murder, criminal conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit murder.

The grand jury heard from six witnesses Wednesday, including Medford police detectives Justin Ivens and William Ford and three civilian witnesses. Testimony took about 50 minutes, according to a release from prosecutors, Chief Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Markiewicz and Deputy District Attorney Zori Cook. The grand jury deliberated for about five minutes before announcing that an indictment had been issued.

Budreau said detectives have yet to interview Zornes, and couldn't say how well Deleon knew Marmolejo and Zornes.

"We don't believe they were strangers," Budreau said.

Budreau said investigators don't believe gang activity was involved.

According to police reports, Deleon was walking near Bartlett and Main streets with friends at 2:15 a.m. Sunday when Zornes, Marmolejo and a third male approached them. After they talked for a short period, Zornes allegedly pulled a handgun out and shot Deleon in the chest and fled east.

The investigation so far has found no criminal culpability for a third person of interest who was with Zornes and Marmolejo. The third person of interest was later interviewed and released.

"Although he fled on foot, that doesn't constitute a criminal charge of murder," Budreau said. "He didn't have any criminal liability."

Police had tracked Zornes to the Motel 6 on Biddle Road in Medford at noon Monday, but just missed him. While they were canvassing the area, a witness claimed that a man matching Zornes' description reportedly tried to sell him two handguns in the parking lot of Witham Truck Stop Restaurant.

Budreau said that with the two suspects in the shooting captured, investigators will be better able to determine the reason behind Deleon's death. He added the cause of the shooting is still under investigation, and likely won't be divulged until Zornes' and Marmolejo's trials.

"As far as all of the stuff leading up to this, that's still under investigation," Budreau said.