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Headline: Orange County prosecutors drop case against man accused of road rage murder
Tuesday - 02/01/2005
Referrer: 2005 Union-Tribune Publishing ---- ace

ORANGE Prosecutors have dropped charges against a Rancho Santa Margarita man accused of stabbing a man to death and seriously wounding his twin brother in what authorities described as a road rage incident.

Rodrigo Jose Requejo, 31, a motorcycle shop owner, had been jailed since his Dec. 22 arrest for the murder of Justin Ammann, 23, and the attempted murder of his twin, Jason Ammann.

Requejo, who is married and the father of three daughters, was released Monday after authorities determined the surviving twin lied and the killing was committed in self defense.

"It was a nightmare when I first came in here. Now it's a dream come true," said Requejo, who was freed about 9 p.m.

Prosecutors said they asked for the charges to be dismissed after learning that Jason Amman lied to police about the Dec. 21 incident.

Jason Ammann had told police that he and his brother were followed by Requejo, who instigated a fight with Justin Ammann on the roadside. Jason told investigators that he joined the fight after seeing his brother stabbed, said Assistant District Attorney Mary Anne McCauley.

Several witnesses, however, came forward after the stabbing made headlines and offered prosecutors their accounts of what happened.

The witnesses said the Ammann brothers were following Requejo and were tailgating and flashing their bright lights, McCauley said.

Requejo steered his truck off the toll road and the brothers started pounding on his driver's side window, McCauley said. Requejo tried to flee outside the passenger door, but got into a fist fight with Justin Amman, who was joined by his brother.

Requejo pulled a knife after the fight became two against one, McCauley said.

Authorities said Requejo fled the scene, but he was questioned and arrested the next day.

Requejo had been charged with murder, attempted murder and a "special circumstances" allegation of committing the crime for the benefit of the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang, which he allegedly cited during the stabbing.

Requejo's lawyer, Joseph Cavallo, said Monday that his client was not a Hell's Angels gang member.

Cavallo credited sheriff's homicide investigators, the district attorney's office and his own investigators for determining the truth.

Requejo, who had been held without bail, said it will take some time to regain his life.

"I lost my business, everything that I've worked for in the last 10 years, in just one month," he said.

The twins were featured in an Orange County Register story in 1998 about a program that gave at-risk youths a chance to fly planes with mentor pilots. The twins, who'd gotten into gangs and drugs whiling living in Las Vegas, had said they were proud to have turned around their lives.

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