A verdict is expected in the trial of a Merced former pastor accused of rape of his foster daughters and the shooting of three people in 2016, according to investigators.
The jury deliberated and came back with a verdict on 13 counts but were hung on a final count in the trial of 54-year-old Raul Diaz Moreno on Thursday in the Merced County Superior Courtroom of Judge Ronald W. Hansen. Their verdict was not read in court Thursday, and the jury was set to continue deliberations for the final count on Friday.
Diaz Moreno is accused of shooting a 17-year-old foster daughter in the leg, a 19-year-old foster daughter in the face and her 21-year-old boyfriend in the upper torso, according to investigators. All three victims survived their gunshot wounds, according to investigators.
Authorities have said the violence sparked Oct. 28, 2016, after Diaz Moreno tried to prevent the youngest woman from leaving with her sister and the boyfriend. The alleged victims have said they were trying to remove the youngest woman from an abusive home life. After the shooting, a more than two-hour standoff with Merced Police ensued at a home in the 4600 block of Beckman Way.
The former pastor of Victory Outreach church faces 85 years to life in prison, the Merced County District Attorney’s Office reported. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder on the three victims and a slew of rape-related charges.
One of the daughters testified the girls endured rape by Diaz Moreno several times over many years. All of those accusations have been denied by the defendant, according to his Stockton-based attorney, Kathy Lynn Trosclair.
"I believe in my client," she said. "I know he didn't commit sex offenses on those girls. We have faith in the jury."
The Merced County deputy district attorney trying the case, Scott Drexel, could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Diaz Moreno threatened to hurt the sisters or himself if they ever told anyone of the abuse, one of the daughters said during testimony.