The Alameda County District Attorney’s office will file an amended complaint on Wednesday, June 7, 2023 that could allow James Joseph Vega, of Castro Valley, to serve a maximum sentence of four years and eight months for the accidental fatal shooting of Vega’s 28-year-old friend Jarin Purvis. Vega has already spent nearly 2 ½ years in custody in the Santa Rita Jail, without bail.
In November 2020, Vega was charged with murder with a special circumstance enhancement, which exposed him to a sentence of 50 years to life. Based on the factual analysis of evidence in this case, the Alameda County District Attorney’s office will file to amend the charges in the fatal shooting. Vega will, now, face involuntary manslaughter, because of the amended complaint, along with a carrying a concealed and loaded firearm charge. Prosecutors met with Purvis’s family to explain the new charges.
In April 2020, Vega purchased a gun, which jammed when he attempted to test fire it. Vega, Purvis, and a group of friends examined the gun. Another man took it apart and cleaned it. Witnesses said Vega and Purvis were playing with the gun and laughing when the gun accidentally fired. Purvis was shot in the face and killed. Vega told police he did not realize the gun was loaded. There is no evidence of an argument, conflict or animosity before this tragic incident took place.
“This man did not intentionally shoot his friend,” said Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price. “This was, clearly, a mistake. Mr. Vega admits that. Other witnesses agree. His behavior was inexcusably negligent but this was an accident. While we deeply empathize with Mr. Purvis’ family and friends, James Joseph Vega should not, potentially, spend decades of his life behind bars for a tragic mistake.”
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