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Jose Velasquez and Rotherie Foster (Ventura County Sheriff's Office)

Plumber already awaiting trial for killing colleague charged with murder of elderly man 6 months earlier

Jose Velasquez and Rotherie Foster (Ventura County Sheriff’s Office)

A 38-year-old plumber in California already imprisoned and awaiting trial for allegedly killing a 35-year-old colleague is now accused of committing an additional murder, one that allegedly took place several months before the slaying with which he is already charged.

Rotherie Durell Foster is now charged with the 2022 murders of both fellow plumber Jose Velasquez as well as a 72-year-old man from Los Angeles named Bill Levy, authorities announced.

Foster was initially arrested in January 2023 and charged with Velasquez’s murder.

According to a news release from the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office last year, Foster and Velasquez were “acquaintances” who knew each other from work.

Velasquez was last seen alive on the evening of July 27, 2022, officials said. His family reported him missing three days later, and his relatives and friends spearheaded a campaign seeking the public’s assistance in locating him. Unfortunately, several individuals hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains off Mulholland Highway on Oct. 3, 2022, followed an “unusual odor” and came across the 35-year-old’s remains.

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    An autopsy performed by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office determined that Velasquez’s manner of death was a homicide and the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.

    Authorities described Vasquez’s slaying as a “murder for money case,” saying that Foster was allegedly motivated by “financial gain.”

    After the fatal shooting, Foster allegedly used checks and credit cards belonging to Velasquez to make a series of personal purchases. In addition to murder, Foster is also facing eight counts of identity theft, two counts of forgery, and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, as well as several prior strike charges. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges in connection with Velasquez’s murder.

    “Jose was an incredibly hard worker who was starting his own plumbing business when his life was viciously and cruelly cut short,” Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko said following Foster’s arrest last year. “The charges filed today are among the most violent and serious we see in the courthouse, and are a result of the strong teamwork between the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and our prosecutors.”

    Foster is an inmate at the Ventura County Todd Road Jail in lieu of $1.25 million bond, jail records show.

    Now, authorities alleged that six months before killing Vasquez, Foster was responsible for murdering the 72-year-old Levy. Police and prosecutors have released few details about the slaying but have planned a news conference for Wednesday morning.

    According to a report from the Ventura County Star, Foster allegedly killed Levy on Jan. 10, 2022, in the area of the 15000 block of Viewridge Lane in the Granda Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. Foster is scheduled to appear in Ventura County Superior Court on Wednesday regarding the Levy murder charge.

    Los Angeles CW affiliate KTLA reported that Foster, as a teen, was convicted on charges of voluntary manslaughter and assault. He was released on parole in 2018.

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