Antonia's last words

The fateful drive from Vegas to San Diego

Antonia Herrera invited Nosey to come back with her to San Diego and live with her at her place.
  • Antonia Herrera invited Nosey to come back with her to San Diego and live with her at her place.

Nosey and Antonia were boyfriend and girlfriend not so long ago — they met on Valentine’s Day in 2016. It was a good time in his life then, when they were together, Nosey had a job at Walmart.

Nosey was a good-looking guy, but his nose was a little too long. That’s how he got the nickname. He was muscular and could look intimidating when he wanted, so not everybody called him by his nickname.Nosey and Antonia had broken up several months prior. It happened after some jerk offered money to Antonia to have sex with him. The lovely 23-year-old Latina was offended, and she was upset at the 25-year-old Nosey when he declined to beat the guy up.

Christian pulled into a Chevron in Perris and put $20 worth of gas into the car.

Christian pulled into a Chevron in Perris and put $20 worth of gas into the car.

Nosey argued that the guy was so small that it would look bad. This was a disappointment to Antonia, and she abruptly decided it was time to move back to San Diego, where she was born and had spent most of her life.

Antonia had lived in Las Vegas for a couple years, but she always made it known that eventually she would move back to San Diego, so it wasn’t that big of a surprise. Nosey stayed behind in Vegas, with his job and family and the pals he had grown up with. He had lived all his 25 years in Las Vegas.

Antonia used her EBT card at the store’s ATM to get cash. Her boyfriend Nosey came into the store and was standing next to her.

Antonia used her EBT card at the store’s ATM to get cash. Her boyfriend Nosey came into the store and was standing next to her.

So, when Antonia unexpectedly appeared at Nosey’s home that Sunday (January 8, 2017) she was definitely welcome. She stayed with Nosey for two days. She wanted to renew their relationship. She even invited him to come back with her to San Diego and live with her at her place.

How could he say no? At that moment, Nosey had no job or prospects, and his family life was in a difficult spot, too. It took Nosey about a day of looking around to find a ride for them, to travel the six hours to San Diego.

One of the bullets had grazed Nosey’s arm that was curled around Antonia.

One of the bullets had grazed Nosey’s arm that was curled around Antonia.

Nosey knew a guy named Christian who sometimes worked as an Uber driver. Christian also worked as an electrician. He was doing well. They had been pals since grade school, and both had attended Durango High School. Christian was a couple years older, 27. They still got high together on marijuana and meth. Antonia offered $80 cash plus the cost of gasoline for a ride to San Diego; Christian agreed to drive them on the side, not as an Uber driver. Antonia had money on her Electronic Benefit Transfer card to finance the trip. Part of the welfare payout system, these cards average $125 per month in California.

Paul Castro.  “Paul apologized,” Christian said later. “He was banging the gun against the side of his head.”

Paul Castro. “Paul apologized,” Christian said later. “He was banging the gun against the side of his head.”

It was the middle of the night, just past midnight, in the early-morning minutes of Wednesday, January 11, 2017, when Nosey and Antonia climbed into the back of Christian’s nice car, a 2016 Chrysler 200 four-door sedan. He kept his car perfectly clean and polished.

It was cool but not cold in Vegas, maybe 56 degrees with hardly a breath of wind. The sky was clear and the big full moon made the metallic silver car glow.

Christian said he wanted to pick up his best friend Paul, who would keep him company and awake for the ride back to Vegas from San Diego.

The three men drove the whole way back to Las Vegas in Christian’s bullet-holed Chrysler.

The three men drove the whole way back to Las Vegas in Christian’s bullet-holed Chrysler.

Paul was the same age as Christian, 27. They had met in grade school and grew up together in Vegas. In fact, the three men in the car were all good friends; they went to the same schools and had been in the same street gang, though all three claimed to have left the gang life behind. But they all still hung out together and got high together. On that Tuesday night, they all smoked meth before they got into the car for the trip to San Diego.

When they left Sin City for the coast, they did not realize there were dark clouds gathering over a certain part of Southern California. They were going to drive into a storm. The trip would turn out to be unbelievably dangerous.

Christian drove and Paul rode in the front passenger seat. Nosey and Antonia rode in the back. The music was turned up and everybody sang along with the tunes. But about an hour into the ride Christian noticed that Paul was not singing. “He was quiet.” In fact, Paul hardly spoke at all. That was unusual. “He wasn’t himself.... I could tell he was uncomfortable.”

Christian would later tell cops, “He was the only one quiet in the car, the whole time.”

A prosecutor in San Diego County later claimed that Paul had been awake for five days straight, “fueled by his meth binge,” at the time of the shooting.

Nosey cuddled with Antonia in the big back seat, they shared photos on their cell phones. They also messaged to friends on Facebook. Neither wore their seat belts. When they drove into the rain, it seemed romantic to Nosey and Antonia. But Christian was squinting to see through the downpour. “It was raining, hard,” he said later. He tried changing his headlights from high beams to low beams, to see if it would improve his view. Paul noticed this.

They had been on the road almost five hours and got low on gas, so Christian pulled into a Chevron in Perris, California. Antonia needed to use the restroom and she hurried into the brightly lit store. It was still dark, about 4:43 a.m. The clouds blocked out the moon. Christian put $20 worth of gasoline into his car.

Cops later collected video from surveillance cameras at the gas station. They could plainly see Antonia when she came into the store, wearing a gray sweatshirt over blue jeans and black slippers. She used the bathroom and then went back to the car to fetch her EBT card.

Antonia used her EBT card at the store’s ATM to get cash. Her boyfriend Nosey came into the store and was standing next to her when she purchased some items.

Spread out on the counter was a sandwich, bag of chips, and some drinks. Cops collected a copy of the receipt later. Through the open doorway, the camera captured one side of Paul, he was wearing his favorite Raiders jacket, as usual. Christian stood outside near Paul, the two men smoked cigarettes and stretched their legs and dawdled a while. Antonia shared the drinks with her companions. Christian drank blue Gatorade and Nosey a Coke. Antonia had a vitamin water.

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Comments

Quite a story. Seems I read or heard a similar account of what happened. Four meth heads get together for a ride, and one ends up dead, shot three or four times. It would be easy to write them off and forget the tale, but there's more that needs to be observed. After one of them has fired the handgun multiple times and has killed her, what do the others do? Go to a fire station to seek help? Uh, no. Call the cops? Uh, no. Her body is unceremoniously discarded along the road, and then the three dudes head back to Las Vegas in a car with obvious bullet holes. The distraught boyfriend is one of the three. What are they thinking? They aren't thinking. Their fried brains don't react in any way that sane people would recognize. If the defense can make a jury think that one of the meth heads didn't do it, that would mean one of the others did. In any event, dumping the body and beating feet out of state should mean the others are accessories-after-the-fact for the cover up, inept as it was.

Good grief, meth is really a huge danger to normal society, but if you choose to use it, good luck.

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