Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Thomas Zeff ruled last week that there is ample evidence to proceed with the murder case against David Machado.
The Keyes man was arrested Nov. 13, 2016 after he reportedly shot to death Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Wallace in the Fox Grove Fishing Access parking lot northeast of Hughson. The deadly shooting occurred when Wallace pulled over Machado because the white Dodge Caravan he was driving had been reported stolen by Machado’s mother six days prior.
Machado will be arraigned on Dec. 3 on a charge of murder with the special circumstance of killing a law enforcement officer while on duty, carjacking, attempted carjacking and being a felon in possession of a gun. If convicted he is expected to spend life in jail with no possibility of parole.
The fatal encounter began at 8:25 a.m. Nov. 13, 2016, when Wallace arrived at the Fox Grove Fishing Access at 1000 Geer Rd. in Hughson in a marked patrol car and in uniform to check out the van. Wallace was quickly informed that the vehicle had been reported stolen and that the suspect in the theft was believed to be Machado, who also was believed to be armed. Wallace made a request for a second unit to come to the scene. Within seconds of making that request Wallace was shot twice in the head. Forensic pathologist Sung-Ook Baik testified on Nov. 18 that Wallace suffered a gunshot wound to the face and one in the neck.
Dispatchers tried to make contact with Wallace multiple times, but received no response. Sheriff’s Deputy Christian Torres out of Waterford arrived at the scene and found Wallace on the ground shot. Lifesaving efforts were initiated and Wallace was rushed to a nearby hospital, but medical personnel were unable to save him and he was pronounced dead.
The suspect and the van had fled by the time Torres arrived. A message was broadcast to all area law enforcement agencies alerting them to the incident, information was provided identifying the suspect and the vehicle related to the initial investigation.
Law enforcement learned a person in Keyes had been carjacked about 20 minutes after the shooting and the individual positively identified Machado as the carjacker.
In his preliminary trial last week Cecilia and Israel Chaves testified that a gun-wielding Machado jumped over the sound wall into their back yard on Heston Way north of Keyes. He eventually made his way to the front of the house where Israel was cleaning his daughter’s car, a white 2009 Kia Rio in the driveway. Machado asked for the car keys. At one point Cecilia Chaves begged Machado to leave without the car and offered to pray for him, to which he replied, “No, I’m Satan’s son.” She also testified that Machado apologizing more than once and said the government killed his family.
When authorities arrived after Machado sped off with the carjacked Kia, they found the van involved in the murder ditched on Rhode Road, the frontage road to Highway 99.
Around noon that same day a woman in the R-N Market parking lot on Harvard Avenue in Lindsay in Tulare County reported a man attempted to carjack her. Sonia Perez was loading water into her car when a man believed to be Machado appeared out of nowhere and demanded her keys. She did not comply and walked into the store as Machado backed off.
Moments later Machado is believed to be the one who accosted Francisco Sanchez in an adjacent large vacant lot. The suspect whacked the victim in the side with a black handgun as he demanded the man’s keys to his pickup. Like, Perez, Sanchez got away without surrendering his keys. He later confirmed that Machado was his assailant.
The reports of the carjacking attempts in Lindsay by a man with a Fu Manchu mustache prompted an immediate search of the area. At 12:30 p.m. Machado was located in an alley by California Highway Patrol officer Thomas Cribbs and Lindsay Police Lt. Ryan Heinks. Machado had a knife and a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun that traced back to shell casings at the scene of the Wallace shooting.
His identity was confirmed through a photograph and from his tattoos. Stanislaus County Sheriff’s investigators and a custodial team flew to Tulare County on the Sheriff’s Department helicopter to question Machado and bring him back to Stanislaus County for booking.
The case against Machado was put on hold in January 2017 while Zeff ordered him to undergo competency hearings. At the time Zeff ruled he did not possess the competency to participate in his own defense after receiving an evaluation from a forensic psychologist who examined Machado after several courtroom outbursts and refusing to work with his defense attorney. After treatment Machado was declared competent to stand trial.