After roughly five hours of police testimony, Judge Clifford Anderson ruled on Tuesday that sufficient evidence exists for Jack Mills, 52, and his wife Rebecca, 50, to stand trial for their alleged role in a March 1 shooting that took place inside a residence on Gillespie Street. The couple is accused of participating in a home invasion that left one man, Juan Aguilar-Ortiz, with a single gunshot wound to the head.
According to testimony from several police officers, a strange series of events began to unfold two days prior to the shooting. Maria Aguilar, the victim’s aunt, told police that she had answered her door to find an older white couple asking about a rental. But since she was not renting, she referred them elsewhere, thinking they had the wrong address.
The next day, Juan and Maria held a yard sale, during which he says an older white man bought a number of items from him. On the following day, the day of the shooting, Maria told police that she was in her kitchen when she noticed someone standing in her front doorway. As she approached to investigate, she reportedly saw three people: the same older white couple that had come to her door two days earlier, and a third person, a black male that she did not recognize.
But this time, instead of asking about a rental, the older white male — who police have said is Jack Mills — reportedly drew a gun from his waistband and forced his way inside. The exact details of what happened next are unclear, but a struggle ensued in which Juan was shot after coming to his aunt’s aid. Miraculously, the wound did not prove fatal. Doctors would find that the small caliber bullet used in the attack fragmented upon contact with Juan’s skull, failing to penetrate. As a result, he would later be able to identify the man who shot him as the same man who had bought several items from him at the yard sale the day before.
The motive, according to Juan, was robbery. During the yard sale, Maria reportedly made change for customers from a “fanny pack” filled with cash. It was this that Juan told police he believes his assailants were after. His theory however, didn’t account for Jack and Rebecca Mills appearing on Maria’s doorstep the day before the sale, when they asked about the rental.
Jack and Rebecca Mills were arrested two weeks later in Pahrump, Nevada at the home of one of Rebecca’s relatives. The couple was tracked down after police received a call from a “citizen informant” who reported seeing a group matching the suspects’ description at a Goleta gas station. After scouring footage pulled from the gas station’s security cameras, police found images that eventually led to the couple’s positive identification. The two black male accomplices that reportedly took part in the assault have yet to be publicly identified.
As a result of Judge Anderson’s ruling, the couple was set for arraignment on December 13. With bail reportedly set at $1 million for Jack, and $500,000 for Rebecca, the two remain in custody.