UPDATE: Guilty plea in case of a man burned alive at N. California gas station

Update (03/28/19, 3:00 p.m.) — The Shasta County District Attorney’s Office announced that Juan Venegas plead guilty in court to the numerous charges related to the death of David Wicks. Sentencing is scheduled for April 22nd. The stipulated sentence is for 17 years, 8 months in state prison.

More than 90% of Wicks body was burned when Venegas sprayed him with gasoline and set him on fire 3 years ago.

Update (01/19/17, 6:30 p.m.) — On Thursday, January 19, detectives with the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office arrested 39-year-old Juan Manuel Venegas after a month-long investigation into the murder of David Wicks.

KRCR reports Venegas was arrested at his home in west Redding.


Shasta County, Calif. – Emergency responders in Shasta County thought they were responding to a structure fire just outside of Burney, California on Wednesday night. But now, there is full-blown murder investigation after a man was reportedly burned alive.

Police said the victim, 54-year-old David Wicks, was an employee at the gas station where the incident happened.

Reno NBC affiliate KRNV reports a man walked through the Shell station around 7:00 Wednesday night and doused David Wicks with a flammable liquid—then set him on fire.

Investigators sid the man fled the scene on a black bicycle which he later abandoned four blocks away.

Community members told KRNV they’re in shock. “I’d stop in every morning before I go to work, and he’d always be there saying hi and ask me about my day, ask me about what I was doing. He was a really good caring guy,” said Michael Lyons.

Sharon Hanson said, “It’s very sad. It’s a loss for our community, and whoever did this certainly doesn’t deserve to be a part of ours. And I hope that they find him.”

David Wicks later died at the hospital, according to KRNV.

The suspect is described by police as a man between 5’6” and 5’9”. He was wearing a yellow jacket and matching pants with a black hoodie pulled over his face.

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Department is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect.

Secret Witness of Shasta County is offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the family. You can see it here.

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