Convicted killer now charged with murder of Camarillo plumber found dead in Santa Monica Mountains

Investigators believe Jose Velasquez was murdered for financial gain.

Rob Hayes Image
Thursday, January 19, 2023
Convicted killer now charged with murder of Camarillo plumber
A convicted killer released two years ago is now being charged with the murder of a Camarillo plumber who went missing last summer and was found by hikers in the Santa Monica Mountains. Investigators said he was murdered for financial gain.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A convicted killer released two years ago is now being charged with the murder of a Camarillo man who went missing last summer.

Rotherie Durell Foster, 37, made his first appearance in court Wednesday regarding the death of Jose Velasquez, a Camarillo plumber whose body was found by hikers last October in the Santa Monica Mountains of Los Angeles County.

Investigators soon realized he had been murdered.

"There were multiple gunshot wounds suffered by the victim," said Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko at a news conference Wednesday.

Velasquez vanished July 27 and had been missing about three months before his remains were discovered.

During that time, Ventura County Sheriff's investigators arrested Foster for using Velasquez's credit and debit cards.

Foster has been kept in custody since then and was charged this week with 11 felony counts including premeditated murder.

"This is among the most serious and violent offenses and charges we see," Nasarenko said. "This is a murder for money case ... The murder was carried out for financial gain."

Nasarenko described Foster as a "two-strike" felon who has already served a 21-year prison sentence for manslaughter and assault in the Sacramento area.

According to the California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Foster was sentenced on June 14, 2002 from Sacramento County to serve 16 years for voluntary manslaughter with the use of a firearm.

On April 27, 2004, he was sentenced in Sacramento County to serve five years for two counts of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and eight months for battery on emergency personnel. He was admitted to CDCR on May 5, 2004.

Foster was released to parole supervision on Oct. 24, 2018 and was subsequently discharged from parole supervision on Nov. 24, 2020 after serving his sentence.

Investigators said Foster knew Velasquez through the plumbing business Velasquez had started.

The 30-year-old Velazquez had moved to California about five years ago with dreams of becoming a general contractor and supporting his family.

"According to (his) mom, who wept while we spoke, he was saving money so he could help his parents purchase a home in Virginia."

Foster's arraignment was continued until Feb. 17.

If convicted, the district attorney said Foster could face life without the possibility of parole or even the death sentence.