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Preliminary hearing begins in farmworker death case

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Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 12:00 am

A preliminary hearing that began Monday will determine if defendants will be tried for involuntary manslaughter in connection with the 2008 death of 17-year-old Lodi farmworker Maria Isabel Jimenez Vasquez in Farmington.

Maria De Los Angeles Colunga, who owned the farm-labor contractor Vasquez worked for, has been charged along with her brother, Elias Armenta and Raul Martinez. Armenta served as safety director for the company, Merced Farm Labor, and Martinez was a supervisor. Colunga and Armenta have hired Woodbridge attorney Randy Thomas to represent them, while Martinez fled the charges and his current location is unknown.

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