An Oroville teen was arraigned this afternoon as an adult in Butte County Superior Court on a count of murder in the stomping death of a 62-year-old Oroville man. Juan Ortega Morales III, now 18, was accused in the July 5, 2017 death of Howard Brimm on a street in south Oroville. Even though Morales was 17 years-old at the time of the murder, a juvenile court judge found that based on Morales’ prior record and the severity of his recent crime that he was “unfit” to be tried as a juvenile.
Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said the crime was caught on the surveillance cameras of a nearby business. Ramsey said video from the cameras showed Morales first approach Brimm and Brimm crossing the street to avoid him. Morales followed Brimm across the street and Morales then started hitting him, knocking him down. Once Brimm was down, Morales continued to hit the victim with his hands and feet. Morales was also seen stomping on Brimm’s head. Ramsey said witnesses at the scene heard Brimm telling the Morales not to hit him. Oroville Police Department officers pulled up on the scene and Morales fled. He was captured a short distance away. Brimm was transported from the scene and died 38 days later of massive head injuries.
After his arraignment today on the adult charge of murder, Morales was returned to Butte County Jail where he remains subject to $1,000,000 bail. His next court appearance will be tomorrow to for further arraignment.