Man pleads guilty in 2017 shooting that killed Camarillo mother

An Oxnard man has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in a 2017 shooting involving mistaken identity that left a young Camarillo mother dead.

Jacob Jamal Steir, now 26, pleaded guilty Thursday to the manslaughter charge and a count of attempted murder. He also admitted to three special allegations involving prior crimes, according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.

The crime remained unsolved for five years until police made an arrest in October. The DA’s plea announcement, released Friday morning, included new details in the case.

The incident took place on the night of Oct. 8, 2017, in the Nyeland Acres area. The victim was at the wheel of her Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck waiting to turn left from Ventura Boulevard onto Santa Clara Avenue.

Alexis Jean Lopez, 26, was in the left-turn pocket as the light was red, the Oxnard Police Department has said. An acquaintance, a 27-year-old Oxnard man, was in the passenger seat.

At around 9:45 p.m. that night, Lopez and her passenger were both struck by multiple rounds in a drive-by shooting. Lopez, who had two young children, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her passenger was hospitalized and survived.

Alexis Jean Lopez

Alexis Jean Lopez

The intersection is in a mostly unincorporated area along the north side of Highway 101, but because the crime took place in the intersection, it was in Oxnard’s jurisdiction.

Lopez grew up in Santa Paula and Camarillo, graduated from Camarillo High School and was a fourth generation longshoreman, according to her obituary.

A year after the shooting, Oxnard police issued a plea for the public’s help as they sought to develop leads in the case.

Friday’s news release included some new details, including that a second man pulled the trigger, according to prosecutors.

The Oxnard police investigation found that on the night of the murder, an associate of Steir’s was seeking revenge for an unrelated shooting earlier the same day, the DA’s office said. The associate allegedly mistook Lopez’s passenger for someone involved in the earlier shooting. The associate asked for Steir’s gun and “opened fire on the unsuspecting vehicle,” prosecutors said in the release, killing Lopez and seriously injuring her passenger.

The man who reportedly fired the gun was not named in the DA’s release. As of Friday, he had not been arrested or charged in connection with the crime, said Joey Buttitta, spokesman for the DA’s office. The man is already in prison for other crimes in Ventura County, including murder, and is no longer a danger to the public, Buttitta said.

Oxnard police eventually identified Steir as a suspect using evidence from an unrelated firearms arrest in Port Hueneme in November 2017, about a month after the murder. Forensic testing ultimately confirmed Steir’s gun was the weapon used in the fatal Nyeland Acres shooting, according to the DA’s office.

Steir had initially been charged with murder and pleaded not guilty. The murder charge was changed to manslaughter with Thursday’s plea agreement.

In a statement, Senior Deputy DA John Barrick, who prosecuted the case, thanked Oxnard police and Detective Ken Tougas for their efforts in resolving the case.

“In the beginning, they had very little evidence on which to proceed,” said Barrick, with the DA’s major crimes homicide unit. “It was only through their patience and determination that an arrest could finally be made.We are hopeful that the subject who pulled the trigger will be brought to justice soon.”

Steir’s attorney could not be reached for comment as of early Friday afternoon.

Steir is scheduled for sentencing at 9 a.m. on Sept. 26 in room 12 of Ventura County Superior Court. He remained in custody at Todd Road Jail Friday with bail set at just over $1 million.

This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Guilty plea entered in 2017 shooting that killed Camarillo mother

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