VISTA, Calif. - Sentencing was rescheduled Monday to April 23 for a young man who sent threatening messages to an El Camino High School student following a double homicide at an Oceanside park last year.
Samuel Ruiz, 18, was arrested Jan. 21 at MiraCosta College, where he was taking a class. He pleaded guilty last month to a felony charge of making a criminal threat.
According to Deputy District Attorney Geoff Allard, a judge will consider releasing Ruiz at the time of sentencing if a probation report is positive and psychological support programs are in place.
A day after the deadly March 13, 2013, shooting at Libby Lake Park, several students at the college received threatening text messages from a so-called "Bart Cheng," who claimed that they would be killed if they continued to discuss the crime, Oceanside police Lt. Leonard Cosby said.
Detectives examined the electronic communications and soon identified Ruiz as the suspected perpetrator, the lieutenant said. When they confronted him, he denied sending the texts, Cosby said.
In late December, a student at El Camino High School received another message from "Bart Cheng." The text referenced the number "187" – the California penal code for murder – followed by "when you return from winter break."
The victim texted back, "Who are you?" and received the response, "Blood drop. You'll see."
Again, investigators traced the messages to Ruiz's phone, according to Cosby. They then obtained a warrant for the suspect's arrest, the lieutenant said.
Authorities do not believe Ruiz has any relationship to the five purported gang members facing trial in the deaths of 13-year-old Melanie Virgen and her friend Edgar Sanchez, 15, and the severe wounding of two other teens at the Calle Montecito park last year, or that he was trying to dissuade any witnesses from testifying in the case.